22 / 06 / 22
The Ultimate Guide to Saving Fuel
All drivers are facing the huge increase of fuel which slowly crept up and up the past few months – more dramatically these past few weeks. Gone are the lockdown days of £1 per litre – in some areas it’s almost (if not more) than double that! Figures from Experian Catalist show that the average price of a litre of petrol in England reached a record 182.3p on Wednesday 8th June. This takes the average cost of filling a 55-litre family car to £100.27, which is an absolutely crazy amount combined with the recent cost of living crisis too. This is why National Intensive have created The Ultimate Guide to Saving Fuel, so help all drivers try and save a few pound.
What makes fuel so expensive?
At the moment, the price of petrol in the UK is among the most expensive in the world. This is because it is purchased from the global market, where prices fluctuate with supply and demand. A large part of fuel cost is down to UK fuel tax duty, which is 53p per litre. According to the BBC, this accounts for 35% of the total cost of fuel. VAT is also added on top of this, which is charged at 20%.
Eco-Driving is the term that drivers use when driving in the most fuel saving way. This will increase your miles per gallon (mpg) figure.
What uses the most fuel?
Fuel consumption is at its highest when you’re accelerating. Unfortunately, accelerating is likely the thing you do most when driving, so opting for gentle acceleration is the best option for getting the best MPG. The faster you travel, the harder your engine has to work, which requires more fuel. Have you ever seen those people that sit in the far left hand lane on motorways? Those are smart people! Travelling at 50mph instead of 70mph could improve your fuel consumption. For example, travelling at 80mph (which is breaking the law) uses 25% more fuel than you would be at 70mph. Are those extra few minutes really worth the £££?
How do I save fuel?
- Maintain your vehicle!
Regular maintenance and servicing helps to improve the efficiency of your vehicle. This includes tyres and engine oil. Making sure your tyres are at the correct PSI will mean there’s less drag; both under inflated and overinflated negatively affect fuel consumption. Making sure everything is topped up under the bonnet will mean everything will run more smoothly.
- Drive as smooth as possible!
Keeping the car moving at a slower speed is much better than continuously stopping and starting. Obviously it wouldn’t be possible to do this in heavy traffic, but driving as smooth as possible will help. Gently steering, accelerating and braking by trying to anticipate what is going to happen next. For example, if you see traffic lights on red ahead, you should ease off the accelerator rather than racing up to the lights, just for them to stay on red.
- Use cruise control!
Cruise control is best saved for motorway or A road driving – this is because it works best on constant flat surfaces where the cars revs will be consistent to avoid gear changes. Cruise control is slower to react to gradient changes; for example when approaching the top of a hill, the car wouldn’t know how long to keep high power on for. If you were accelerating, you would naturally slowly take pressure off the accelerator when approaching the top, as so much power would soon not be needed.
- Don’t keep the car running when you’re stopped!
This consumes roughly half a gallon of fuel every 30 minutes. We’re not saying turn the car off every time you hit a red light, but if you’re pulling over to pick someone up etc, then it’s worth turning the engine off. Most modern cars have stop-start engines – this is an automatic system that kicks in when you take your feet off all pedals and put the car in neutral.
- Reduce your air con use!
Air Con uses fuel, and quite a lot of it. It’s best to open your windows when driving at a low speed. When driving at high speed, it’s better to use air con compared to opening the windows.
- Fill up at a cheaper petrol station.
It’s always best to avoid the petrol stations along motorways/at service stations or right in the middle of city centres as these are normally the most expensive. You can compare prices in fuel stations locally to you by inputting your postcode here.
- Walk where possible!
Needing to nip to the local shop for a few items? Why not take a stroll there instead? This not only saves fuel, but also the impact on the environment. Understanding how much you are actually spending on fuel per journey would make you more aware and make you want to walk if you can!
The rise in fuel prices is a concern for everyone. Electric cars are much cheaper to ‘fill up’ – according to EDF, you can use a rapid charger at Tesco for £6-7, which would give you around £100 miles of range in 30 minutes of charging. This is significantly cheaper than filling up with petrol or diesel.
Looking at taking an Intensive Driving Course? Learn to pass your driving test quickly with National Intensive. Read more here!