Fuel prices are skyrocketing in Somerset – here’s how you can cut your fuel consumption

Somerset residents are thinking twice before getting behind the wheel as petrol and diesel prices soar.

As the cost of living crisis continues and the devastating invasion of Ukraine rages on, fuel prices have reached record highs, leaving many struggling to justify getting behind the wheel and limiting their displacements.

According to data firm Experian Catalist, the average cost of a liter of petrol on UK forecourts on Wednesday was 159.6p, down from 158.2p on Tuesday. The average cost of a liter of diesel hit a new high of 167.4p on Wednesday, down from 165.2p on Tuesday.

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The cost of filling an average family car with diesel is now around £90 and filling a tank in a similar sized car with petrol will set you back £87. Following the UK’s oil embargo on Russia, some motorists in London reported petrol prices of over £2 a litre.

And it is feared to hit a record £2.50 a liter due to the worsening conflict in Ukraine.

In North Somerset, motorists are seeing prices soar to £1.69 a liter for diesel. In Nailsea, the price of diesel at Budgens garage is £169.9 per liter while petrol is £159.9 per litre. Half a mile down the road to Tesco in the city, but there is a difference of 10p per liter diesel to £1.59 per litre.

Fuel prices at Budgens in Nailsea

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People have clogged forecourts in recent weeks in a bid to beat rising prices, with some petrol stations sometimes running out of fuel due to demand.

As motorists, there are things we can all do to save fuel and stretch it further, like limiting the number of trips taken and driving at consistent speeds.

Former Top Gear presenter and award-winning motoring journalist Quentin Willson appeared on Good Morning Britain today (March 10) to share some tips on how to cut fuel consumption by up to 25% to avoid feeling the pinch at the pump.

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Speaking to hosts Ben Shephard and Ranvir Singh, Quentin said motorists need to change their mindset and drive with more sensitivity.

He said: “The way to lower your fuel bills if you have to drive your car is to drive more sensitively and we need to change our mindsets.

“There are many things you can do to reduce your fuel consumption by up to 25%. And it’s simple things like making sure your car is serviced, oil filters are changed, and air filters aren’t clogged.

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“Check your tire pressure, make sure your brakes aren’t dragging, and install a trip computer in your car that will tell you your MPG (miles per gallon) and how much fuel you’re using and how much you can save. “

The RAC, in conjunction with the Energy Saving Trust, has also found ways for drivers to save fuel.

Although the speed at which you drive is arguably the most influential factor in fuel consumption, there are a number of other ways to change your driving habits that will have a significant impact on the money you spend on fuel. the pump.

Tips for saving petrol and diesel

1. Make sure you maintain your vehicle

Regular maintenance and servicing improves a vehicle’s efficiency and can therefore reduce your fuel consumption.

It’s especially important to make sure the tires are inflated to the correct pressure, as listed in the owner’s manual, because under-inflated and over-inflated tires both hurt fuel economy.

Tire pressure varies with load and if you have four passengers and luggage, the tires should be inflated to the maximum recommended pressures.

2. Soft right foot – use the highest gear possible within the speed limit

Excessive speed is the biggest factor in fuel consumption. It is therefore very important to have a light right foot and to ensure that all accelerations are smooth for fuel-efficient driving.

Every motorist will need to speed up a certain number of times during a journey, but that doesn’t mean you have to pull away as if you were at the start line at Silverstone.

Probably the biggest secret to achieving high mpg is to drive in the highest gear possible for the vehicle while staying within the speed limit. The best advice in urban settings is to shift as quickly as possible with the lowest revs possible, probably around 2000 rpm. The faster an engine runs, the more fuel it consumes.

The optimal fuel saving speed will be different for each car.

Although there is an ideal speed, road conditions and inclines don’t often allow you to reach that speed, so you must improvise and learn to adjust the ride to suit the road ahead, a technique often referred to as hypermiling.

Texaco gas station in Minehead
Texaco gas station in Minehead

Generally speaking, there is no optimum driving speed for fuel economy.

Over the years, 56 mph has often been considered the optimal speed. This was because the old fuel consumption test was run at three speeds: urban, 56mph and 75mph – and 56mph was still, unsurprisingly, the most efficient of these. Generally, cars are most efficient at 45-50 mph.

In addition to fuel economy which differs from vehicle to vehicle, it also depends on a number of other factors such as tire pressure, presence of roof racks and driving style.

3. Try not to lose momentum

Keeping the car moving at the right speed is essential for fuel economy. Obviously, this depends on traffic conditions and what’s happening on the road, but slowing down and having to accelerate again naturally consumes more fuel.

The best advice is to drive as smoothly as possible, using the steering, throttle and brakes gently. When slowing down, it is important to stay in gear because a fuel injected engine’s fuel cut-off switch is then activated, which means that no fuel is used during braking.

Try to anticipate what will happen ahead by looking far ahead. This way you’ll see the traffic lights red, which means you can ease off the throttle or slow down naturally and potentially keep moving instead of stopping.

Going up hills destroys fuel economy. When you see a hill coming, try to speed up a bit before you reach it, then slow down on the way up. The extra momentum should be enough to minimize extra fuel consumption.

4. Does cruise control use more fuel?

Cruise control only contributes to fuel economy when driving on a constant level surface, hence why it is generally best reserved for highway driving.

One of the keys to saving fuel is driving at a constant speed, cruise control can do this effectively on flat surfaces, making your driving as fuel efficient as possible by canceling out unnecessary acceleration.

However, if you had to use your cruise control regularly, and not on the flat, you would encounter problems which would increase your fuel consumption.

This is because your cruise control would be slower to react to grade changes, i.e. when you reach the top of a hill – at which point you would normally have to take your foot off the throttle to maintain a more constant speed downhill – your cruise control will keep power going a bit longer as it is unable to see the change in gradient ahead of you. Driving this way regularly would lead to lower fuel consumption.

5. Remove roof bars and boxes

Don’t leave your roof bars and roof box in place, as they create wind resistance and cause your car to use more fuel through the “drag” effect. This is increased as you drive faster.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, an empty roof rack adds 16% drag when driving at 75 mph. At equal speed a roof box adds 39%, making your vehicle much less fuel efficient.

Driving with an open window also has a similar effect.

6. Use air conditioning and heating sparingly

Yes. Only use your air conditioning when absolutely necessary as it uses engine power and therefore increases fuel consumption.

This goes for heat as well as cooling, so try to dress for the weather, even inside your car, if fuel efficiency is a big concern.

The price at the pump at Tesco, Minehead
The price at the pump at Tesco, Minehead

7. Combine trips: a warm engine is more efficient

Consider doing one round trip rather than several short trips. Once the engine is warmed up, it will run at its best while multiple cold starts will increase fuel consumption even though the total mileage might be the same.

8. Lighten the load

While that won’t make the biggest difference to your mpg numbers, it stands to reason that the heavier a vehicle is, the more fuel it will consume.

Don’t keep unnecessary items in your trunk, as they all add weight to your vehicle, which won’t help your fuel economy in the long run.

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