Is there anything I can do to save fuel when driving?

Even a couple of tweaks can help to bring down fuel costs.

Car refuelling
Car refuelling

Drivers are really feeling the pinch at the pumps currently, with the average cost of a full tank of petrol now reaching the eye-watering £100 mark. With prices so high, it can be easy to think that there’s nothing more that can be done to save money, but there are a few small changes you can make to help.

So let’s take a little look at some of the ways you can reduce your fuel usage when out on the road.

Think about your gear changes

Hyundai i30
(Hyundai)

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Making your whole usage of a car as smooth as possible can really help when it comes to efficiency. Now obviously this isn’t going to see huge savings, but all of these smaller measures add up to make a bigger change.

So try and be as smooth as you can when changing gear. Plan ahead and shift up slightly earlier than you might be used to. Also, don’t be tempted to ‘hang’ onto gears when accelerating as this will put more strain on the engine and cause it to use more fuel.

Windows make the difference

Car windows
At higher speeds, it’s best to use the air conditioning (BMW)

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The temperature is really starting to heat up here in the UK, which will see many drivers turn towards their air conditioning to keep cool. But to save fuel, you could be better served opening the windows when travelling at slower speeds, as this will keep you cool but won’t require the air conditioning system to work.

However, when you get up to greater speeds, having open windows actually has the reverse effect where they create drag and actually contribute to fuel use.

Remove any belongings you don’t need

Weight is the enemy of car efficiency, which is why it’s a really good idea to try and remove as many items that aren’t required from your car as possible. Check over the boot and see if there’s anything there that you definitely don’t need with you, with winter coats, boots and umbrellas being the usual suspects.

Make sure your car is in good working order

Mechanic checks car oil
(Kwik Fit)

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Cars operate at their very best when they’re in good working order. Ensuring that filters have been changed and that fluids aren’t too old can make sure that a vehicle is working as efficiently as possible, so taking your car to be inspected and serviced regularly can really help out later on.

It’s a good idea to keep on top of this between services, too, with regular checks of oil levels.

Check tyre pressures

Check your tyres
(MotorEasy)

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Your tyre pressures have a huge impact on the efficiency of your car. Under-inflated tyres can see fuel consumption increase in a big way, so ensuring that they’re at the correct pressure is one of the easiest ways to make sure your car is running as efficiently as possible.

You’ll be able to find the right pressures for your cars within the vehicle handbook, behind the fuel filler cap or the driver’s door shut line.

Remove any roof racks you don’t need

BMW 5 Series Touring
The 5 Series is a great choice for families

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Roof racks create drag and therefore require more effort from the engine to help the car ‘push’ through the air. Of course, if you require your roof rack or cycle mounts then keep them on, but if they’re not needed anymore then it’s a good idea to take them off.

Doing so makes your car more streamlined and reduces the amount of drag it generates.

If you can, take other transport

Obviously, if you’ve got a big drive ahead then for many people the car is the only option. But for shorter trips, consider cycling or taking public transport as an alternative. This isn’t an option for everyone, of course.

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