Nine ways to make your fuel last and avoid joining petrol station queues

E10 petrol pump

Drivers are trying to make their petrol last as long as possible due to long waits to get petrol caused by panic-buying. - Credit: PA

With queues stretching from petrol stations and roads blocked as fuel demand soars, drivers across Norfolk may want to avoid trips to fill up the tank if it's not necessary.

Here are some tips to make your fuel last a little bit longer.

1. Avoid using your AC

Both your car's air conditioning and heating use fuel, so you are better off only using it when you have to.

The use of your car's air conditioning can increase your fuel consumption by up to 10pc, but it can be made more efficient by using the recirculate option.

2. Combine your journeys

A warm engine is a more efficient engine, so grouping several small trips together to save fuel.

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Several cold engine starts throughout the day will increase fuel consumption, even though the total mileage of the trips could be the same. 

3. Use the right gear and speed

This one may sound obvious but being in the right gear aids in fuel efficiency.

The RAC recommends going up your gears as quickly as possible in urban areas, with the lowest revs possible.

Driving slower, or just sticking to the speed limit, can also help to make your petrol go further.

It's estimated that you’ll use up to nine per cent more fuel by driving at 70mph instead of 60mph, and up to 15pc more than at 50mph. 

4. Keep those windows closed

Driving with your windows open creates wind resistance, causing your car to use more fuel because of the 'drag' effect.

This effect is increased the faster you drive.

Keeping an empty roof rack or box on your car has a similar effect, with the Energy Saving Trust saying that an empty roof rack adds 16pc drag when driving at 75mph.

5. Avoid idling

Leaving your vehicle's engine running when you are not moving unsurprisingly wastes fuel.

So if you're not moving for a couple of minutes, consider turning off your engine, or utilising your car's stop-start system if you have it.

It's estimated that idling for just 10 seconds wastes more fuel than restarting your engine.

No fuel left at the BP garage off the roundabout that joins the A143 and the A146 in Beccles. Pictur

Some petrol stations are putting limits on how much petrol drivers can get in one go to help more get access to fuel. - Credit: Archant

6. Check your tyres

Take some time to check your tyres and make sure they are at the correct pressure.

When tyres are at the correct pressure, it not only prolongs the life of their tread, but also improves fuel efficiency as there's rolling resistance with the road.

7. Lighten the load

The heavier a vehicle is, the more fuel it uses.

Even though removing any unnecessary items from your boot and back seats is not going to make the biggest difference, keeping heavier items in your car will lessen your fuel economy in the long run.

8. Don't drive

Another obvious one here, but the best way to not use fuel is to simply not drive.

This is not always possible, but if you're only popping to the shop down the road, why not walk or cycle?

9. Drive downhill

We use less fuel while going downhill so, if all our other measures fail, you could plan your journey accordingly - but in the flat landscape of Norfolk, this one might be tricky...

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