Running A Car - Saving on fuel costs

24 May 2012
Fuel prices rise by 1.92p a litre from September

After depreciation, fuel costs are likely to be your biggest motoring expense. Follow these tips and you should save yourself a few quid.

• You can expect fuel consumption to be worse than the official combined figure. As a rule of thumb, expect 10% to 15% less mileage than this figure suggests due to the fact that real-life driving is more demanding than the official EU tests.

• Accelerating as slowly as possible is not considered the best option to save fuel – and it can also irritate other road users. Accelerate normally through the gears to your desired speed and then change to the highest gear possible.

• When cruising, try to use top gear from around 30mph up, and aim to keep the engine speed to between 2000rpm and 3000rpm.

• Switch off the engine if you're going to be at a standstill for more than a minute.

• Look at the routes you frequently take – your drive to work for instance. Are there less congested roads you could take? They might add miles to your journey but, if they cut out stop-start motoring, you could be quids in.

• Keep windows and sunroofs shut, and make sure your tyres are at the right pressure. Wind resistance and drag from under-inflated tyres will increase fuel bills. Always remove roof racks and bike racks when not needed, and don't carry unnecessary items in your boot.

• Use of the stereo, rear demisters, lights and air-conditioning adds to the fuel bill.

• A dirty engine with lots of sooty deposits can worsen fuel economy. Changing the oil can help to improve things here.

• There are lots of 'snake oil' solutions on the market, which supposedly improve performance and lower fuel consumption and emissions with simple tablets, magnetic strips or a squirt of additive. If it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

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