Cheaper fuel bills - The route to savings
Swapping your car for a more frugal model will lower your fuel bills, but you could save even more by changing the way you drive and how you get from A to B. In fact, by avoiding the motorway and taking a slightly longer but less frantic route to work, you could save hundreds. You see, it’s not all about miles per gallon – it’s cost per mile that hits your pocket. Often, taking the more direct route will save money, and the fewer miles you do, the more your car will be worth when you come to sell it. Even without the cash benefits, every 10% fuel saving will cut emissions by the same amount.
Route to fuel saving
Here’s the proof: three different routes of a relatively short commute (13 miles as the crow flies) each took us between 33 and 38 minutes. Not a huge difference, so you might expect the fuel costs to be similar – yet the motorway route ended up costing two-thirds more than the most economical journey, and was less than three minutes faster. With a round trip, five days a week, that’s £700 a year. The quickest route saved just four minutes over the cheapest, and worked out to be 12% pricier.
You may not have a practical alternative for your commute, but you could still make a worthwhile saving when, say, going away for the weekend. We tried two obvious routes from London to Exeter: one using mostly motorways and the other using the more-direct A-roads. We tried both and saved £6.52 by taking the A-roads. So while using the motorway knocked 19 minutes off the journey, taking the shorter route meant we were quids-in and much more relaxed during the trip.
So how do you find the cheapest way to get to your destination? Shorter routes that avoid heavily congested areas are a good bet – motorway routes often aren’t as direct, while lots of stopping and starting also hits economy. Many sat-navs give you an economical route option, and websites such as www.viamichelin.co.uk have route finders that do the same.
Tell us yours
Why not try the economical route to work and tell us how you get on? Do it for a week and see how much money you save and the extra time it takes. E-mail us at: