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Comment: Eight tips to save fuel and avoid trips to the petrol station

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Providing a ‘back to basics’, the vehicle experts at LeasePlan UK have pulled together a list of top tips for saving fuel – to help drivers through the current fuel shortage crisis by making their fuel go further and avoiding any unnecessary trips to the petrol station.

The average price of a litre of petrol and diesel was down 3p, saving drivers over a pound on a fill-up

Top tips to save fuel include optimising speed, driving smoothly and removing clutter from the boot

While the current ‘panic at the pumps’ is providing drivers with an extra reason to save fuel, it’s rarely a bad idea to drive efficiently. After all, it should save you money – and it helps the environment as well. Here are eight tips that could mean you get more miles from your fuel.

Optimise speed

Cars are generally more fuel efficient in a higher gear, so try to change up as early as you can while still having enough revs for the road situation (and not breaking the speed limit). Then, keep your speed down, as research suggests that fuel efficiency starts to drop once you’re going much faster than 50mph.

Drive smoothly

Hard acceleration and braking means using more fuel to get up to speed and then wasting more of that speed through the brakes. Driving smoothly at a sensible speed is much more efficient. One way to do this on clear major roads is to use cruise control if you have it.

Look ahead

It’s easier to drive smoothly if you look ahead on the road so you can plan for anything that could make you need to slow down or stop. For example, if you see traffic lights coming up that are on red, taking your foot off the pedal and letting the car slow down naturally uses less fuel than continuing to accelerate and braking at the last minute.

Think temperature

While aircon is great on a blazing hot day, it uses fuel to run. If the inside temperature is only a degree or two over what you usually have, consider turning off the aircon to improve your mileage. When it’s a lot hotter, though, it may be better to use the aircon, particularly at higher speeds, as it could be more fuel efficient than opening the windows.

Remove weight

If your car boot is full of things that you use occasionally because it’s easier than taking them out, think about losing this weight (particularly if they’re heavy). Research suggests that every 100 kg of excess load increases the fuel consumption of a vehicle by around 5%.

Combine journeys

A warm engine is more efficient than a cold one, so if you know you have several short trips to make, think about combining them into a single journey.

Plan ahead

The most direct route is often the most fuel efficient, so make sure you’re going the best way to your destination. That said, also check for accidents or planned roadworks before you leave. A detour or two in this situation might keep you out of a traffic jam where you could be burning fuel while going nowhere.

Inflate tyres

While it may not sound like much, underinflated and overinflated tyres both reduce fuel economy – and increase your bills as they are likely to wear more quickly. Making sure your car is maintained and serviced on time can also keep it at the best levels of efficiency.

Time to go electric?

We’ve also seen an increased interest in electric vehicles. If you’re thinking about going electric, there is lots of great information online to help you make the switch – like this EV driver tool from LeasePlan UK which matches you to a model based on the trips you make and your personal circumstances.

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

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