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Eight ways to save £300+ a year on motoring

PUBLISHED: 15:49 21 January 2019

An under-inflated tyre can increase fuel consumption by 3pc  Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

An under-inflated tyre can increase fuel consumption by 3pc Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

VichienPetchmai

Insurer Warranty Direct explains some of the best ways to increase fuel economy - and save more than £300 a year.

Over the past seven months petrol has increased by 10pc and diesel 11pc, with current prices some of the highest we’ve seen since the summer of 2014. Insurer Warranty Direct believes there’s never been a better time to look at the best ways to boost fuel economy – and save money.

1 Consistent cruise

Tests have shown varying your speed up and down between 46.5-52.8mph (75-85kph) 
can increase your fuel use by 20pc.

As you get to know your vehicle, you’ll be able to tell what certain speeds feel and sound like without having to look at the speedometer too much, and you’ll adjust your foot on the pedal more naturally.

But when you’re first learning (and/or don’t have cruise control) you’ll need to glance at the dashboard every so often to make sure you’re not speeding up or slowing down.

Factor in the average mileage a year (5,104 miles) and you could save around £67.79 a year by adapting your driving style.

2 Stick to speed limits

Speed limits are maximum, not recommended speeds. You should constantly assess how fast is safe while you are driving and make adjustments accordingly.

Cruising at 70 mph uses up 25pc less fuel than 80mph and, as UK motorways make up nearly a quarter of all roads, try staying in the lower gears for longer before changing up. This cuts down on your potential to speed and won’t harm your car’s gearbox, transmission or engine.

Maintaining the correct speed limits could save you up to £27.87 a year in fuel costs.

3 Check fuel consumption

Many drivers consume 15pc less fuel by acting on the feedback that fuel consumption displays provide. To keep on top of this, you need to know the equation for fuel consumption is “miles driven divided by amount of petrol used.” If you know the distance you drove and how many litres fill in your tank, you can simply divide the miles by the fuel.You can do this every time you fill your tank 
if you want create a long-term record of your fuel usage.

Being more diligent could save you a whopping £79.62 a year.

4 Use the correct gears

To get the best out of your engine when driving in different road, traffic and weather conditions, you need to be able to change to the most appropriate gear at the right time. The best way to determine when to change gears in a manual car is to listen to the sound of the engine.

The more you practise, the more familiar with it you’ll become. When it sounds like it’s starting to work too hard or it’s starting to make a loud roaring sound, it’s time to change up gears. If the engine is starting to struggle and is making a lower sound after you’ve slowed down, then you need to change down gears.

Correct use of gears can make huge savings on your fuel bill of up to 15pc, around £78.22 a year.

5 Check your tyres

An under-inflated tyre can increase fuel consumption by 3pc. Tyre manufacturers and road safety organisations recommend drivers perform checks of vehicle tyres at least once a month. The vehicle handbook, or user manual, will detail the correct air pressures to be used in your car’s size tyres.

If you’re driving the car with a full complement of luggage and people, or intend to carry heavy loads or tow, tyres will need to be inflated to a higher air pressure than they would during normal driving conditions.

It is estimated 40pc of drivers could save £15.64 a year by checking their tyre inflations.

6 Streamline

A roof rack, even unused, adds wind resistance to a car, increasing drag and making the engine work harder. It can also affect fuel consumption by up to 10pc.

Don’t leave your roof rack on the car all year round, only use when necessary and save up to £52.15 a year.

7 Turn off air con at lower speeds

At motorway speeds, air con can affect fuel consumption by up to 4pc and up to 10pc in stop and start traffic. Leaving your air con on all the time could cost you around £30.11 a year.

8 Don’t ‘warm up’ the engine

When starting on cold mornings, don’t leave your car running to warm it up. It causes unnecessary engine wear, as well as wasting fuel. Instead, invest in some decent de-icer and try to drive off straight away – so long as you can see where you are going!

Leaving your car running will cost between a minimum of £10-15 a year.

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