Tuesday, 16 September 2014

10 practical tips to save money on driving

Driving is expensive. Cars are expensive to buy, insurance is expensive (check out our blog about saving money on car insurance). Then, after all that, there's still tax and fuel to worry about!
Whilst we all know that the real way to save on fuel is to walk or to cycle, sometimes that just isn't practical. So, rather than suggesting that everyone moves to within walking distance of their work, we've compiled a short list with some tips on how to drive as cheaply and ecologically as possible.

The first five points in this blog relate to techniques to use whilst driving. They focus on using as little fuel as possible whilst also remaining safe.

1. Turn your engine off – If you're in standstill traffic, there's no point in leaving your engine running. If it is safe to do so, and you will be stationary for more than about a minute, just switch your engine off. Modern cars use virtually no extra fuel when they’re re-started without pressing the accelerator so you won’t waste lots of fuel turning the car back on.

2. Keep in the highest suitable gear –
Driving at lower engine speeds helps to keep fuel consumption to a minimum. As a very general guideline, aim to shift to a higher gear at between 1800 and 2000 revolutions per minute (RPM). Don't forget to keep safe though. keep in mind that depending on the car and the driving conditions this might not be suitable.

3. Close your windows if travelling at 60mph or more – The aerodynamic drag on your car of an open window at speeds of 60mph or more adds to your fuel usage. Keep your windows closed at high speeds. 

4. Slow down – Those speed limits are there for a reason! Avoid excessive speeds. Driving at 85mph uses approximately 25% more fuel than 70mph. 

5. Smooth acceleration, gradual braking – This is about anticipating the road ahead. Pull away steadily and smoothly and start decelerating early so breaking doesn't have to be abrupt.

The next five point relate to the upkeep of your vehicle.

6. Check your tyres regularly – It is recommended that at least once a month (and before long journeys) you check that your vehicles tyres are at the correct pressure. Under-inflated tyres are not only dangerous and but also increase your fuel consumption. While you're there you should check the level of tread on the tyres, this is not only to ensure your vehicle is legal to drive but also because worn out tyres can be hazardous.

7. Cut excess weight – Keep only necessary items in your vehicle. We've all been guilty of leaving stuff in the boot for too long, but the extra weight will be costing you petrol. Travel light wherever you can.

8. Air conditioning – use air conditioning sparingly as your engine has to work harder to power the air conditioning machinery. If driving at low speed, open the window instead.

9. Remove unused roof boxes and bars – Roof boxes can be a great way to extend the storage space in your vehicle, but they create a huge amount of drag. Drag means that your engine will have to work harder and that means using more petrol.

10. Only start your engine when you're ready to leave – Modern engines don’t need to be warmed up, so idling before you start a journey simply wastes precious fuel.

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