There are a number of simple things you can do to save petrol and therefore money. If you drive around 10,000 miles or more per year then the following suggestions will save you £100s:
There is sometimes as much as 5% difference in petrol prices in towns or urban areas where there are at least 4 petrol stations within a few miles of each other. Sometimes this might simply be because one petrol station is 24 hours with high overheads versus a supermarket station with very low ‘loss leading’ prices. Make sure you also take advantage of supermarket promotions, so if you have to do a ‘big shop’ and they are offering 5p per litre off petrol if you spend more than £40, then jump at the chance! Also don’t forget to use their loyalty cards (eg Nectar) to pick up extra points. Use your credit card to pay if it is one of those with cash back or points.
The way you drive can save petrol
Always try and accelerate slowly – this will use less petrol and if you approach an area where you need to slow down, then take your foot off the accelerator earlier and slow down naturally. Any time that you over-rev the car, you will be using more fuel than you have to, so change gear in lower revs where possible. If the road has speed bumps do not keep accelerating and then breaking hard as this is just wasting money! Driving ‘carefully’ can save you as much as 15% in fuel.
Try and de-clutter the car – there are probably many things in it that don’t need to be there and if so, this is just extra weight. On the outside of the car it is usually worth removing the car rack for both the weight and the extra drag. On the subject of weight, if you always completely fill your tank (as opposed to half or two thirds full) then this is also add extra weight – try lifting 4 gallons of water if you don’t believe me! Try not to use the air con unless you really need to. For town driving on a hot day, have the windows down, but on faster speed roads it is better to use the air con as the windows being down will cause extra drag.
Finally, something that is slightly debateable is whether to use super unleaded – it costs more but will give you extra miles and may also be slightly kinder on the engine. One thing that is isn’t open to debate is the fact that you should not ‘coast’ (ie go down a hill in neutral). Coasting will mean you have no engine breaking if required and have less control of the car – there is no point in saving money if you are going to drive dangerously!