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How can I save money on my car’s fuel bills?

Fuel prices have been creeping up – so what can you do to make sure you’re driving as efficiently as possible?

Fuel prices

The price of fuel has been spiking recently with motorists up and down the country being hit by significant increases in the cost of both petrol and diesel. Cuts in oil production in Russia and Saudi Arabia have driven the price of crude upwards which, as a result, has impacted the cost of petrol and diesel.

It means that making your fuel go as far as possible can make all the difference. Here, we’re going to take a look through some of the ways you can help to keep your car’s fuel bills to a minimum.

Keep weight to a minimum

Extra weight is never a good thing when it comes to a car’s efficiency as a heavier vehicle will require more fuel to ‘push’ along. It’s why it’s a great idea to make sure your car is kept clean and tidy inside while keeping any of those not-needed items in the house instead.

It’s easy to accumulate things like coats or shoes in the car and while they might not weigh much on their own, collectively they can have quite a big impact. Keep your car tidy and it’ll really help out.

Make sure tyres are properly inflated

Tyre guide
Properly inflated tyres will roll more efficiently

Under-inflated tyres can seriously hamper a car’s efficiency and, fortunately, it’s one of the easiest things to solve. You can top up your car’s tyres either at petrol station – where you’ll usually find an air compressor – or you can buy a smaller version that can be used at home.

Inflate your car’s tyre to the recommended pressures – you’ll find these in the car’s handbook or sometimes in the ‘sill’ between the driver’s seat and the door. Inflate them correctly and you’ll ensure that your car is rolling as smoothly as possible.

Remove roof boxes and rails when not in use

Volvo V60
Roof boxes increase space but add drag in the process

Extra drag harms a car’s ability to ‘cut’ through the air, making them use more fuel in the process. Having a roof box can seriously dent your car’s aerodynamic efficiency, so leaving one on when it’s not in use isn’t a great idea.

The same goes for roof-mounted bicycle racks and even the rails themselves.

Keep your car’s engine properly maintained

Close-Up Of Woman Checking Car Engine Oil Level On Dipstick
Checking your car’s fluids helps to prevent a breakdown, which is especially important in poor weather conditions. (Castrol)

Sometimes you need to spend a bit of money to save a bit of money and that’s definitely the case when it comes to vehicle servicing. A car that is serviced frequently will run more smoothly and will use less fuel as a result. It should hopefully reduce the chances of bigger repair bills due to something going wrong, too.

You can do some aspects at home by yourself, such as topping up the oil – but many must-have maintenance procedures can be done by a trained professional at a garage, too.

Drive more efficiently

Porsche 911 Carrera S with a manual gearbox
Being smoother with the gears can help boost efficiency (Porsche)

How you drive can have a big impact on how much fuel your car uses. If you’re overly harsh with the accelerator and gears, then it can quickly cause your car to use up more fuel.

So be easy with the accelerator and try to gently gain speed. You should also try and keep your braking smooth and easy, while changing gears a bit earlier than usual can really help too. We’d also try and plan ahead better; if there’s a hill coming up, for instance, then you should start smoothly applying the throttle earlier, rather than being heavier with the gas in a sudden movement.

Avoid air conditioning if it’s not required

Air conditioning
Switch off the air con if it isn’t needed

We’re currently experiencing quite a balmy start to Autumn and that means you might be keeping your air conditioning on for longer than usual. Air-con does put some extra strain on the car’s engine, however, so driving with it switched off can help save a little more fuel.

Though, of course, there’s no point in being uncomfortable, this is something to do if you want to shave those costs down further.

Try a different form of transport

One of the easiest ways to save on fuel is to leave the car at home. For shorter trips, you could try walking or cycling while public transport is another way of getting from A to B without using fuel. Every little helps, after all.

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