How Can I Save on Petrol Costs?
Rising fuel prices have attracted the ire of motorists and command column inches aplenty with monotonous regularity. With unleaded now priced well in excess of 130 pence a litre throughout the United Kingdom, inevitably many car owners are looking for ways in which they can cut down on their petrol costs.
The most obvious solution is to simply drive less. However this isn't practical for everyone, especially those who travel long distances; live in the country or need to carry out essential duties with their car. However, if you do find yourself using a car for convenience alone, especially on shorter journeys, it might be worth considering walking or using a bicycle instead.
Unfortunately it is these shorter journeys that can really drain the fuel tank. When the engine is still cold, your car needs more petrol to perform fully. This makes it all the more important for drivers to ensure that they are using their car appropriately.
The way you drive does have a massive impact on fuel economy, so it's important that you review your driving style if you are serious about saving on costs. Speed is a particular issue. If you're pushing your car to its limits and regularly accelerate sharply, then your miles to the gallon will drop like a stone.
Therefore it's important to use your common sense on the road. Don't accelerate towards traffic lights, standing traffic or other potential hazards that are likely to require heavy breaking. Accelerate smoothly up to your desired speed too. Don't hold up traffic, but be sensible with your accelerator pedal.
Depending on the size of your vehicle's engine, the most economical speeds tend to be between 40 and 60 MPH. Whilst you shouldn't be looking to exceed a 30 limit because of fuel economy, it is worth reining in your speed where there's an opportunity to do so. Your reward will be a higher MPG and more money at the end of the month.
Give your car a good once over too. If you haven't changed the oil in some time, this can mean that the engine isn't running as efficiently as it should, which will cost you when it comes to filling up at the pumps. The more weight you're carrying, the worse performance will be, which means that you will be burning up petrol at a rate of knots. So get rid of anything that you've been carrying around and never use.
Underinflated and even worn tyres are another way that you can successfully reduce the performance of a vehicle. So before embarking on a long journey or another week of commuting, make sure that your tyres are road legal and inflated correctly. Failure to do so could end up seeing fuel wasted unnecessarily.
Unfortunately there's nothing that you or I can do about the cost of petrol itself. The fuel pump cost is dictated by taxes, governments and oil prices. These are all highly variable and have been in a state of flux for many months and years now. So to a certain extent, much of your spending on petrol is reliant on factors that are beyond your control. However, that isn't to say that you can't still get better value from your vehicle.
Whilst you may not be able to do anything about tax and the ever-increasing cost of oil, you can take better care of your car and the way you drive. Small changes in your usual routine will help to cut down petrol costs where possible and shouldn't greatly impact upon your travel time or enjoyment of driving.