Even with the cost of fuel having come down slightly, it is still far above prices we are used to seeing, and with all sorts of bills going up amidst the cost-of-living crisis, it is only sensible to look for ways to reduce outgoings. One of those ways is to reduce your fuel consumption, so you're at the pumps less frequently. Below are some top tips on how to improve your fuel efficiency.
Keep your tyres pumped up
Your tyres are the only part of your car that is touching the road surface (and if it's not, come into one of our Autocentres!), so they are the sole source of friction between your car and the road. An under-inflated tyre will have a greater contact area with the road which means it will have more friction; this causes the engine to work harder so it can counteract this slowing force.
A properly inflated tyre will move along the road with much more ease and efficiency. Check your owner's manual for the correct tyre pressure for your car.
Remove excess weight
This one is simple physics: if you have more to transport, you'll need more fuel.
If you're concerned about your fuel efficiency, you should check what excess baggage you've got stowed in the boot that could be jettisoned.
Regular car servicing
Having your vehicle checked and maintained is key to it running efficiently, and an efficient car will use less fuel than one in need of repair.
Our Autocentres perform MOTs, services and peace of mind checks on all sorts of vehicles, so if you want to be sure yours is in top condition, bring it to our RAC-approved mechanics.
Driving steadily reduces the strain placed on the engine, strain which uses additional fuel to adapt to the changing demands of speeding up and slowing down. Cruise control is incredibly beneficial when it comes to driving steadily as it keeps your speed constant and has the added bonus of giving your foot a rest.
Accelerating sharply from a standstill, or while climbing a hill, also increases fuel consumption and should be avoided to improve efficiency.
Avoiding violent braking is another way to drive steadily and reduce fuel consumption; a sudden loss of speed means you will, in many cases, need to build that speed up again. Watching the road ahead of you will allow you to react to stimuli sooner and less drastically, for example by being able to brake earlier and more gently, or by moving into a different lane and avoiding braking altogether.
Keep your RPM low
RPM, or rotations per minute, refers to how fast your engine's crankshaft is spinning. The more it's spinning, the more fuel is being used. Keeping your RPM low will help keep your engine happy and use less fuel, and you can do this by driving in the highest gear that's suitable for the speed limit.
Combine your journeys
Instead of making several shorter trips with your car, try to make one larger trip. This is because a warm engine is more efficient than a cold one, and if the car's already running, it'll be warmer than one that's been off for a few hours. This is particularly relevant for the winter months when the temperature drops.
Avoid rush hour, where possible
Also within the realm of planning your journeys, you should try to avoid the roads when they are likely to be congested. The constant stop-start of the endless queues of rush hour causes your engine to burn more fuel than driving consistently.
Minimise your use of AC
The air conditioning in your vehicle is powered by your engine and when you're using it, you're using fuel. Experiments run by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) have found that in most cases, driving with the windows down is more efficient than driving with the AC running.
If you are in heavy traffic, i.e. you haven't moved in at least 3 minutes, turn your engine off. Even when you're not moving, your engine is using fuel.
Alternative ways to reduce fuel consumption
Consider an electric or hybrid vehicle
Electric and hybrid vehicles are great options as they, at least, minimise and, in some cases, completely eliminate the reliance on petrol or diesel.
Electric vehicles are powered through electricity and a full charge can cost as little as £15.10.
Hybrid vehicles, whether they are plug-in hybrids (i.e. you can charge them using external power and this supplements their petrol/diesel power) or self-charging hybrids (i.e. cars that store excess energy generated by the combustion engine and use that for propulsion), reduce the reliance on petrol or diesel.
You can reduce your fuel usage by sharing regular trips with other people, for example commuting to work with a colleague who lives nearby; you drive one day and they drive the next.
Take alternative transportation
Another way to reduce your fuel consumption is to walk, cycle or take public transportation.
How Carbase can help
If you're thinking about how you can improve your fuel efficiency, you can bring your car into one of our RAC-approved Autocentres for a tune-up so it's running efficiently, or you can browse our range of electric and hybrid cars.
More Useful Articles
Your tyres are a crucial part of your car and the only part of your vehicle that touches the ground ...
With many of us trying to find ways to reduce our impact on the environment, a sustainable drive and ...
Charging points are individual devices that allow users to charge their electric vehicles and ...