With the most expensive unleaded petrol now at 116p per litre, many motorists will be dreading next Tuesday’s 2p increase in fuel duty, according to the Times newspaper.
But there are ways of making petrol go further from pumping up your tyres to driving smoothly. Here are Times Money’s tips on how to cut the cost of fuel:
1. Find your cheapest station. Go to www.petrolprices.com to find the cheapest fuel in your area. It covers 9,589 petrol stations and has 8,000 daily updates. The difference between the most expensive and the cheapest price per litre can be more than 15p.
2. Pump up your tyres. Under-inflated tyres create more rolling resistance and so use more fuel. Go to your local petrol station and use their pump – it is normally free.
3. Lose weight. Every extra 50kg will increase your petrol consumption by an average of 2 per cent, according to www.save-petrol.co.uk. So keep all your golf clubs – or anything else littering your boot – at home.
4. Streamline. Roof racks and bicycle carriers create extra wind resistance and so increase fuel consumption. If you do not need it, take it off.
5. Turn off the air-conditioning. It increases your petrol consumption by as much as 10 per cent – so if it is only mildly warm, put the fans on or wind down your window. That said, if you are travelling over 60mph having the window down increases drag which increases your fuel consumption – so air conditioning would be better.
6. Stick to the limits. The faster you go, the more fuel you use. Driving at 70mph uses up to 9 per cent more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15 per cent more than at 50mph, according to the Department of Transport.
7. Change your oil. Clean oil reduces the wear caused by friction of moving engine parts, helping to improve fuel consumption. You should change the oil in a petrol car once a year or every 7,500 miles. For a diesel engine it is recommended you change the oil every 6 months or 3,000 miles.
8. Drive Smoothly. Acceleration and deceleration is what uses most fuel – so try to slow down gradually at lights, avoid heavy braking and try not to rev too much.
9. Avoid rough surfaces. Gravel or heavy dirt surfaces can increase your fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent – not to mention the affect on your paintwork. If there is a route involving smooth tarmac, even if it is slightly longer, then take that.
10. Rather obviously… use your car less. Combine short trips – such as buying the paper, dropping-off the recycling, or collecting the kids – rather than making multiple short trips.
Denna Bowman, Head Office