Running A Car - Saving on fuel costs
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.
Buying a car
How to take a test drive
What to test on every car you drive
How to haggle
How to get thousands off your next new car
Buying a used car
How to avoid the pitfalls
Buying a pre-reg car
Making the most of some great deals
Selling your car
Taking delivery of your car
Taking delivery of a new car
What to look out for
Taking delivery of your used car
What to look out for
Looking after your car
Keeping your car healthy
Regular car checks
Keeping safe in winter
What to do in an accident
Points to remember