Although pump prices did drop early in 2015, they are on the rise again and even shopping around for fuel can only get you so far. Here we give you our top tips for fuel efficiency, get more from your tank and decrease your visits to the pumps.
1. Keep windows and sunroofs closed when you can
Having good aerodynamics does improve fuel economy and having windows open can create a drag and defeat the objective of the aerodynamic design of your vehicle. You will waste a lot more fuel with the windows open at higher speeds than at lower speeds as the drag will increase with speed. Although air conditioning uses fuel to operate, you may not know that it is likely to be more economical than having your windows open when it's too hot to handle.
2. Remove any unneeded exterior carriers (e.g. roof racks)
Following the same school of thought as leaving the windows open, roof racks can create extra drag and lessen the aerodynamics of your vehicle. As well as this, the added weight will cost you more in fuel. A lot of the newer roof racks will have quick-release locks to make this fuel saving task simple and quick.
3. Try not to be heavy footed with the accelerator
If your accelerator is fully down it can cost you more in fuel than being in a lower gear and having a slightly higher rpm, but this doesn't mean over-rev the engine! It makes sense that the more you push on the accelerator, the amount of fuel injected into the engine will increase. If your car has an automatic gearbox this will not be as important (as the car will know when is best to change gear), but having a light foot on the accelerator will improve your overall fuel efficiency.
4. Accelerate smoothly
Carrying on from the last point, keeping acceleration smooth and steady will reduce your costs. The best way to travel is at a constant speed at around 50mph and in the highest gear possible. This is not always achievable due to speed limits and the need to speed up on some larger roads, but avoiding overtaking vehicles at high speeds can reduce your fuel levels dropping as quick.
5. Check tyre pressures regularly
Tyre maintenance is imperative to the efficiency of your car and that certainly applies to fuel. Having an overinflated tyre can be dangerous as it can lead to uneven wear on the tyres which will jeopardise your stability. On the flip side an underinflated tyre will increase your surface drag, making your car have to work more to get you to your destination. Inflating your tyres to your cars specified levels will make sure your fuel efficiency stays at its highest and your car will perform at its best.
6. Check tyre for tread depth and damage
It's not just about the air in your tyres - once your tread levels start to drop lower, your grip on the road will reduce, making braking and cornering more difficult. This will increase you fuel input to the engine. So regular tread depth checks and replacing tyres is not only safer but will make your car fuel efficient by improving traction.
7. Don't overdo the air-con
Leaving the air conditioning running all year round can be very tempting, especially to stop windows misting up as frequently However, if you can help it, only use it when it's necessary. This will reduce the amount of petrol used to keep the car cool, which can be used to give you a few more miles before you fuel up.
8. Don't carry more than you need to
Your vehicle will need more fuel if it's heavier and having additional bits and bobs in your car can build up the weight that you are carrying. If you don't need to take something out with you for your upcoming trips leave it at home. If you do have to take anything heavy in your vehicle, make sure to distribute the weight as equally as possible for an even distribution of pressure rather than overloading certain areas of the car.
9. The need for low speed
Breaking the speed limit is not only against the law and could leave you with a fine, points on your license and even a driving ban - but also it will cost you more in fuel. For example, travelling at 80mph on a 200-mile trip will get you to your destination marginally faster than travelling at 70mph. However, due to the push of acceleration it requires to stay at 80mph, it could cost you up to £7 extra in fuel.
10. Decelerating smoothly
Slowing down can affect your fuel economy if you are speeding up and breaking suddenly. To get the best economy for your engine and also the life of your brake pads, release the accelerator and smoothly slow down without hammering on the brakes to stop. Keep the car in gear at all times as coasting uses more fuel and gives you less control of the vehicle.
11. Avoid leaving the car to 'warm up'
Many drivers leave their cars to warm up before driving, especially in cold conditions and to demist the screens. A good de-icer and scraper can quickly sort any frost out without having the engine started. A stationary vehicle will still use up fuel and leaving it sat can wear the engine. On those cold mornings where frost is inside the car, a hot water bottle on the dash (as long as it's not touching the glass) about 30 minutes prior to leaving can warm the car up and make it easy to clean your screen when you're ready to leave.
12. Plan your route
Road works or accidents can hold you up from getting to your destination and stop/starting your car is probably the worst way to economise your fuel unless it's powered by fuel saving technology. Use local radio reports, travel planners such as AA and Google Maps to stay ahead of the curve and plan the route with less traffic congestion. Even if the route is a few miles more but clear of traffic, the steady speed will get you better economy and hopefully get you there quicker in the end.
13. Upgrade your car
Many new cars have newer technology which will switch your engine off in stationary positions and turn on instantaneously when you try and move again in attempt to save you as much fuel as possible.