The price of fuel might be falling but that’s no excuse for complacency. Driving economically doesn’t just benefit your pocket - driving in a fuel-efficient way can save you up to a third off your fuel costs - it has potentially far-reaching effects on the environment too.
Here are eight simple steps to help you drive more economically…
1. Check your tyre pressure
The easiest way to save money is by simply making sure that your tyre pressures are accurate; around 20% of your car’s fuel is burned overcoming rolling resistance.
Use a decent tyre pressure gauge – good ones cost as little as £10 – and check them weekly. Doing so could save you as much as £4 per tank of fuel according to research carried out by Michelin.
Read our simple car maintenance tips.
2. Reduce weight
Another easy way to save fuel is by reducing your car’s weight (why do you think new cars rarely have spare tyres these days?), so have a look in your boot and take out anything that isn’t essential.
3. Reduce drag
Aerodynamic drag slows you down, meaning you burn more fuel to maintain the same speed. So remove that roof rack and keep your car’s windows closed. It will make a difference and, as a bonus, your car will be quieter too.
4. Keep your car serviced
Keeping your car’s service history up to date doesn’t just increase your car’s value when it’s time to sell it, it saves you money every time you use it. A well-tuned engine means that every drop of fuel is being burned as efficiently as possible, making every penny count.
Driving in winter conditions? Read our tips.
5. Drive off promptly
There is no need to let your car idle for minutes on end to warm up these days. Just keep the revs down until the temperature gauge shows your car has warmed up.
6. Keep it smooth
The biggest savings come from driving smoothly, easing on and off the throttle gently, braking as little as possible and honing your observational skills to make smooth progress. This means not following the car in front too closely and easing off the throttle whenever you can to save fuel rather than braking and then accelerating your way through traffic.
You can also take your foot off the throttle when you are going downhill and allowing your speed to drop a little when you’re going up hill. Never coast with your car out of gear though; to do so is dangerous as it removes an element of control.
Driving a long distance? Read our guide to making long journeys safe and pleasant.
7. Turn it off
Simply turning things off saves fuel. Your car’s air-conditioning accounts for up to 5% of your car’s fuel consumption so if you don’t really need it, turn it off!
The same goes for your car’s engine: if you are sitting in traffic, turning the engine off, even for as little as thirty seconds, can make a big difference.
Obvious, maybe, but do you really need to drive? Walking not only saves fuel and money but it also makes you feel better, burns calories and keeps you fit!
Did you know that Saga provides car insurance and breakdown cover for the over 50s?
For more tips and useful information, browse our motoring articles.