Running a car has never been more expensive. With fuel prices at record highs, saving money wherever you can is more important now than ever before. Here are my top motoring money saving tips, and some of these won’t cost you a penny.
Look for the arrow on the fuel gauge by the petrol pump
This tells you what side of the car the filler cap is. Knowing that will save you time and not having to drive to the back of the queue to refuel.
Refuel out of hours
Go to the petrol station when it’s quieter. It will not only save you time but also money waiting with the engine idling and wasting fuel.
Don’t be a fuel snob
Most cars will run perfectly fine on supermarket fuel. All fuel comes from the same refineries and has to meet a minimum standard. The only difference is that mainstream fuel providers (BP, Shell, Texaco and others) put additives and detergents in their fuel. It won’t make any difference to most motorists and you can save up to 10p a litre easily. Only high-performance cars may require premium fuel.
Use loyalty cards
Supermarkets have loyalty cards that can be used for fuel, so combining your food shop with a fuel shop will save you time and money with cashback too.
Keep the heater and air-con off
Using the air-conditioning can reduce your fuel consumption by up to 10%. The compressor saps the engine power and fuel, especially on smaller cars. Use it occasionally to keep it working though as recharging it with gas generally costs at least £60.
Using a heater will also impact on your fuel consumption.
Dress for the weather.
Reduce the drag
Remove roof racks, boxes and keep the windows closed. You will reduce the air drag on your vehicle by doing so and will make your fuel last longer by up to 10%.
Empty the boot
Do you really need all that stuff in the boot of your car? Every additional 50kg knocks 2% off your fuel consumption according to the RAC. Just carry what you need and keep the junk at home.
Are you meeting up with friends and family? Why not share the car and fuel costs? It’s a more friendly way to travel both for you and the environment.
Think BWP (Bike Walk Public Transport)
Do you really need to use the car to get that pint of milk? The average car journey is 8.4 miles and many trips are within walking distance. If you walk 10 minutes each way to the shops, you can easily clock up about 3,500 steps and burn calories instead of fuel.
Using a bike or catching the bus will save you on fuel and parking costs too.
Reverse into parking spaces
Reverse into parking spaces will save you about £2 a week according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
You are more likely to be able to quickly drive away if you can clearly see other traffic, rather than wasting fuel with a cold engine reversing out.
Don’t warm up your engine. The first few seconds with a cold engine idling uses 20 – 25 times more fuel than a warm engine.
Keep your speed down
Driving at 80mph burns 15% more fuel than driving at 70mph. Driving at 70mph burns 9% more fuel than driving at 60mph, and driving at 60mph burns 15% more fuel than 50mph.
The best speed is 56mph for optimum fuel economy.
Reduce the revs
This is the biggest fuel waster of all. Motorists generally change gear at 3,000 rpm on petrol cars and 2,500 on diesel cars.
Change gears early and keep the revs between 1,500 – 2,500 rpm to make your fuel last longer.
Don’t use cruise control
Cruise control is only designed for long journeys. It is not designed for every-day motoring and will impact on your fuel consumption as the engine will be labouring.
Stop-start traffic is a killer on fuel consumption. Anticipate how busy your routes are and plan (and drive) ahead. Driving out of peak hours and taking a different route to avoid roadworks and numerous sets of traffic lights will save you time and money.
Be App Savvy
Find the cheapest fuel in your area by looking at www.petrolprices.com or downloading their app. You can save up to 20p a litre easily in towns and cities. That is up to £11 on a 55 litre tank.
Waze colour codes the cheapest and most expensive fuel in your area with a traffic light system – red for the most expensive.
I use Here We Go app as a sat-nav for long journeys. It is bang up-to-date with all speed cameras and alerts you well in advance.
Check your tyres weekly
Underinflated tyres will also affect your fuel consumption. Keep a digital tyre gauge and compressor in your boot, which will save you at least £1 a time on using the machines at petrol stations.
A digital tyre gauge and digital tyre compressor pay for themselves in no time and are handy to have in an emergency.
Check the tyres for wear and tear as well. Look for the wear bar in between the tread for the legal minimum. Good tyres are crucial for your safety, so don’t skimp on cheap or part-worn tyres – it’s false economy.
Get your car serviced regularly
Look after your car and your car will look after you. A well-maintained car will save you money on repairs and will ensure that your car is in good working order.
Look at multi-car and home policies to save money
You can make substantial savings by combining your car insurance with your home insurance policy. Always shop around each year well in advance of your renewal date and pay in full annually.
Paying for car insurance monthly is the equivalent of taking out a loan and will cost you more. There are various car insurance risks that you also need to be aware of.
These are my top motoring money saving tips. Can you add anything to this?