Money-saving expert Martin Lewis has shared top tips to help drivers save thousands of pounds on fuel.
Millions of drivers are facing soaring petrol prices as the cost of living crisis deepens.
Fuel prices have hit record highs almost daily for the past few weeks.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been criticized for not doing enough to tackle soaring prices, despite plans announced in his spring statement to cut fuel taxes by 5p.
Mr Lewis estimates that for someone who drives 15,000 miles a year with an average of 35 miles per gallon (12.4km/L), just buying petrol at the average price in the UK would cost £2,963 per year from March 2022. A 25% reduction could save £741/year.
Here are the money-saving expert’s top tips, produced with the help of RAC, on how to make your fuel money last longer.
First step: Increase the energy efficiency of your vehicle
There are several ways to reduce fuel consumption by making small changes to your car, says Lewis.
Lower tire pressures increase a car’s drag according to moneysavingexpert.com, which will consume more fuel. Regularly checking that the tire pressure is correct can save you money on fuel.
Getting rid of extra weight from your car can help you save fuel because the lighter the car, the easier it is to accelerate.
A roof rack adds wind resistance to your car, even when not in use, which makes the engine work harder. Removing it can help reduce fuel consumption.
Your car’s AC uses power from the engine, so turning it off at low speeds and having the windows rolled down can help you save fuel.
However, at higher speeds it is best to use AC power and keep the windows open due to the extra drag caused by windows down.
Fuel is heavy, so refueling the car adds a lot of weight, which uses more fuel to run.
To work around this problem, moneysavingexpert.com suggests that you fill up a little more often and put less (up to 1/2 or 3/4).
Cruise control helps you save fuel on flat roads by maintaining a constant speed, eliminating unnecessary acceleration.
However, when used regularly on roads that are not flat, it will increase the amount of fuel you use as it reacts slower to changes in grade, meaning it will accelerate for longer than a driver can. would do it going up a hill.
Highways are generally flat, so reserve them when you can navigate.
Step Two: Change Your Driving Habits
A smoother ride will not only help you keep your purse drawstrings closed longer, but will also be better for the environment.
The more you accelerate, the more fuel you consume. Stay below 3,000 rpm as a general rule.
Always drive at the highest speed possible without overworking the engine, and shift gears much sooner than it feels natural.
It helps you plan ahead and move gradually, which means more efficient driving.
Try not to press the brakes too quickly as this results in more acceleration and therefore more fuel. Instead, make the most of the car’s momentum – good road positioning is crucial for this.
If you hear harsh acceleration and screeching brakes, you know you’re wrong.
It takes a tremendous amount of energy to start a car, so staying in motion can be more fuel efficient. If you can, try to drive safely to a traffic light that changes from red to green without stopping.
It may seem like it saves fuel, but it’s dangerous and can lead to accidents.
Step Three: Shop for the Cheapest Local Gasoline
Use a price comparison tool such as PetrolPrices.com to find the cheapest fuel in your area.
It lists the cheapest petrol stations in your area and covers around 8,500 forecourts across the UK.
You can also keep an eye out for short-lived fuel promotions that pop up from time to time.
Step Four: Credit Card Cashback
Cashback credit cards pay you back every time you spend on them, but only work if you set up direct debit to pay off the card in full each month so you never pay interest that would dwarf the money saved.
Fifth step: carpooling
Driving less is the most obvious way to save money on fuel, so why not see if you can share a ride with colleagues on the way to work?
There are also sites like Liftshare and BlaBlaCar that can connect people on the same ride, but be careful when getting into a car by checking the driver’s identity.
It also has the advantage of being better for the environment, with fewer cars on the road.