With the cost of fuel rising, it is becoming harder to keep control of petrol/diesel expenditure - especially if you have rented a hire car, and they charge you for fuel usage. Follow these top tips to keep your car as efficient as possible, and save money at the same time!
1. Slow down
This seems obvious, but many people still drive too fast and wonder why they are using excessive fuel. Driving at around 50-55mph rather than 70mph is much more economical. Be careful though as driving too slowly on motorways and other busy roads is very dangerous - just as unsafe as driving too fast!
2. Change gear properly
A lot of people drive and rev their cars really high before they change gear. Try to shift gear around the 3000rpm mark, and get into fifth as soon as possible. Driving at 35mph in third gear not only uses up a lot of fuel but also bad for your engine.
3. Don't brake excessively
When coming to a roundabout or traffic lights, there is no need to brake so quickly. Slow down using the gears and sometimes you may not even need to stop. When you do have to stop and wait though, put the car into neutral rather than in gear to save a bit of fuel (and cramp in your left foot!)
Avoid braking when you don't need to, drive 100yards or so behind the person in front of you, then when they brake you have a bit more time to slow down.
4. Be cool (but not too cool!)
Using the air conditioning clocks up a fair amount of fuel consumption, so try to keep the usage to a minimum. Remember though, driving with your windows open on motorways and busier roads causes drag from the airflow and ultimately uses just as much fuel as the air conditioner.
5. Check your tyres
Having fully pumped up tyres can be beneficial to your car's fuel economy. Tyres lose about 1 PSI every month so make sure you keep topped up, having the correct pressure and tread can reduce your fuel consumption by up to 3%.
6. Unload your baggage
Carrying excess weight in your car can cause unnecessary fuel use. Extra weight = extra fuel. Lighten the load by taking out anything you don't need for that trip. It might not seem like a lot but you're doing your bank account a massive favour.
7. Check your air filter
When your air filter gets clogged with dust and dirt, it has to work harder and therefore uses a lot more fuel. Change the air filter when necessary so you can get more from your fuel in the long-term.
Finally, consider if you actually need to drive. It isn't just better for your wallet to walk or cycle instead but it's much more beneficial for the environment and your own fitness.