How To Reduce Fuel Costs

By Subodh / May 21, 2013

When people find themselves in debt or struggling to fulfil an individual voluntary arrangement, it’s vital that budgets are reassessed to ensure that non-essential outgoings are cut or stopped.

One area that is often essential, however, is driving. People rely on their cars to get to work or as part of day-to-day family life.

That’s not to say you have to keep on paying out plenty at the pumps though, as there are plenty of tips and tricks which can reduce the amount of money you spend on fuel.

Not only will this do a tremendous amount of good for your financial situation, given how expensive petrol and diesel can be, it will also be a boost for the environment as well.

This can simply be shopping around for the best price. For instance, Asda announced recently that they plan to cut the price of unleaded petrol by up to 2p per litre and introduce a new cap of 133.7p.

Asda petrol chief Andy Peake said: “Everybody filling up at an Asda petrol station will pay no more than 133.7p for unleaded and 137.7p for diesel.

“Unlike some of our competitors whose postcode lottery pricing means prices can vary across their forecourts.”

Reduce Fuel Costs

Drive less

It may seem obvious, but the best way to cut down on how much fuel you use is to drive less.

Sometimes driving is unavoidable but there are occasions when you could walk and not only is this good exercise it also means you won’t be using any fuel unnecessarily.

Have a think before you jump into the car about whether or not you need to drive or whether you could walk.

Remove clutter

It’s also wise to have a good rummage around your car and sort out what actually needs to be in there. For many people, cars are an extension of the family home and, as such, include plenty of items that aren’t required.

As a result, drivers then end up carting all this extra weight around with them which can do a great deal of damage to fuel consumption. For the sake of having half an hour’s worth tidying, it’s a very worthwhile investment.

Interestingly, according to the RAC, every 50kg of extra weight will increase petrol consumption by two per cent, highlighting just how big an effect it can have on fuel budgets.

Also, on this note, ensure you aren’t carrying around roof racks when you don’t need them. Not only are they very heavy but they aren’t aerodynamic, meaning they cause a lot of drag and cost you more money at the pumps.

Plan ahead

When actually out on the road, there are things you can do too including planning well in advance any manoeuvres that you may wish to execute.

By being able to look ahead and see what’s happening, you can avoid harsh braking and accelerating which will do your fuel consumption no good at all.

Purely from a safety basis this is good too, as it gives you more time to react in terms of decisions that need making.

Also, ensure that you change gear quickly, and don’t lumber for too long in lower ones as this will see you rev more and waste fuel.

Tariq Musaji, a fully qualified driving instructor, told Which?: “In a petrol engine, a gear change should be done at 2,000rpm. Diesel cars need to be worked a bit harder, say at 2,500rpm, before moving up a gear.”

A further idea for cutting fuel wastage is to reduce the amount of electricity you use within the car. Considering switching off items such as air con if you don’t need them as this will lower the fuel you use.

Another good plan is to set your car’s MPG on the dashboard, as this will help to monitor how economically you are driving.

Avoid coasting

The idea of coasting is one that, in days gone by, may have been considered a good idea to stop using the engine.

However, times have changed and now it is not recommended. It essentially involves turning the engine off and allowing gravity to pull your car. However, Which? says this isn’t the thing to do.

“Though thought of as an acceptable way to save fuel in the 1980s, coasting (driving in neutral or with the clutch depressed) is frowned upon today,” the consumer watchdog states.

“Coasting means the car is effectively rolling, without engine braking, which is dangerous.”

There are plenty of ways to reduce how much you spend on fuel with this possible through lifestyle choices as well as practical changes both before and during driving.

Have a think about which areas of driving you could improve in terms of efficiency and before too long you will feel the difference in your wallet.