Fuel-saving tips

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What Car? Staff
19 March 2009

Fuel-saving tips

Fuel-saving tips
19The more aerodynamic your car is, the less fuel itll use. Take off bike racks and roof boxes when you dont need them and close any windows (open windows create drag).

20The heavier your car is, the harder the engine will have to work, so itll burn more fuel. Take out everything you dont need or use shedding those extra pounds will reduce your cars fuel consumption.

21Ensure your tyres are at the correct pressure. This not only means that youre driving safely, youll be driving efficiently, too. Underinflated tyres create a lot of drag, so pump them up to save fuel (and cash).

22Many of your car's systems that are powered by the engine drain a lot of power. Systems such as the heater, headlights and, most of all, the air-conditioning will use more petrol and cost you cash. Switch them off when you dont need them on and youll save a heap of cash over the months.

23Regular servicing helps your engine to run as efficiently as possible. In particular, an oil change will remove metal particles that wear your engine, so regularly check levels and consider new oil every six months even if the manufacturer recommends a longer period.

24If you speed down the motorway at 80mph, youll soon feel the hole burning in your pocket. Slow down by as little as 10mph and youll certainly notice the difference at the end of the week (and you wont be at risk of getting a speeding ticket, either). Take a Nissan Qashqai, for example: at 60mph, itll do 39mpg, but at 90mph itll do half that.

25Dont screech away from traffic lights accelerate gently. Theres no point in rushing to reach your cruising speed; instead, ease off on the gas and you should end up a little more relaxed as well as a little richer.

26When on the road, make sure you always use your gears economically and you will save even more cash. Make a habit of changing up as soon as you can, but make sure you dont labour the engine.

27Anticipation can save expense, too. Braking and accelerating all the time means youre not reading the road correctly, and all that accelerating will use fuel (and therefore cost you money). Try to keep your car at as constant a speed as possible by reading the road ahead for traffic lights that may change, pedestrians stepping out, and other traffic.

28When youre going to be at a standstill for more than a minute (for example, at a level crossing), switch off your engine. You can even switch off at traffic lights, but make sure youre ready to go (clutch depressed, car in gear) when the lights change again.

29If youre always stuck in traffic on the routes you do most, it might be time to get a map out and try a different way. Even if your new route adds a couple of miles, you might still cut your fuel bills if theres less stop-start traffic and it allows you to drive at a more constant speed.

30Saving pennies on a litre of fuel might not sound like much, or something worth driving out of your way for, but for a Ford Focus over a 12,000-mile year, the difference between the cheapest and most expensive fuel in your area could save you nearly 100. Use www.petrolprices.com, which lists the cheapest fuel stations in your area.