April 20, 2017 at 9:27 AM
Driving is both practical and enjoyable, making errands like shopping and school runs easier and enabling you the freedom to explore whenever you like. The first step to getting on the road on a budget is to invest in a used car. New cars lose up to forty per cent of their value during the first year, so going second hand is a savvy choice. However, there are also many ways to save money once you’ve found your ideal vehicle. Here are ten tips on how to save money at the pump to get you started.
1. Shop around
Check local prices before you fill up as they can vary drastically between petrol stations. For example, prices will be much higher near town centres and at motorway service stations than in the suburbs or from smaller fuel companies.
2. Use supermarket vouchers
Although fuel company loyalty cards can earn you reward points, the savings you make might be insignificant compared to other fuel offers. Some supermarkets offer vouchers with money-off per litre, and you can make some decent savings using these instead.
3. Drive economically
The accelerator is what consumes fuel most vigorously. You can reach the same speed by accelerating smoothly rather than pressing hard on the pedal. Staying under three thousand revs and driving in higher gears where possible can make a difference of up to thirty per cent on fuel consumption.
4. Only use air-conditioning when necessary
Air-conditioning is a convenient way to maintain a constant temperature in your car. It keeps you cool in the summer and stops the windows steaming up in cold weather. However, its energy is supplied by the fuel in your vehicle, so try to only use it when you have to. It won’t make a huge impact on long journeys but can make a noticeable difference if you go on a lot of short trips.
5. Keep windows closed
Your vehicle needs to be as aerodynamic as possible to achieve the best fuel efficiency. Open windows don’t make much of a difference to town driving, but on fast roads like motorways, keep windows and sunroofs closed.
6. Avoid rush hour
All the stopping and starting in rush hour traffic is really bad for fuel consumption, so avoid driving in rush hour whenever possible. When it’s unavoidable, travel at a steady slow speed if the traffic is moving so that you don’t have to keep accelerating and braking.
7. Consolidate smaller journeys
Your car consumes more fuel when the engine is cold. It can take up to five miles to warm up, so try to combine smaller journeys into one trip.
8. Treat your car to premium products
Many of the larger fuel companies offer premium petrol and diesel fuels. While these products may cost more than the standard fuels, they are designed to prevent the build-up of deposits within the engine and protect against corrosion. There are also fuel additives that can be added to the fuel tank when filling up. Similar to premium fuels, these clean the engine and leave a protective film. There’s no need to use these products every time, but occasional use reduces emissions, betters fuel consumption and improves responsiveness.
9. Avoid excess weight
Your car uses more fuel to carry around excess weight, so keep your vehicle free from clutter and remove accessories like roof racks when not in use. When you’re running low on fuel, don’t completely fill the tank as fuel is heavy. Filling up to just half or three-quarters of a tank improves efficiency. However, try not to let the tank run under a quarter full as this puts strain on parts like the fuel pump.
10. Maintain correct tyre pressure
When tyre pressure is low, fuel consumption is increased. Hence it is important to check your tyres every two to three weeks and top them up to the correct pressure when needed.