Tips on how to save fuel in this current economic climate are more important than ever. This is even more imperative for drivers with a long daily commute or those that use their vehicle for a living. Did you know that fuel prices in the UK have soared to their highest levels in eight years? In the last eight months, petrol has risen in cost in some areas of the UK to 132.19p per litre*. Diesel prices have experienced similar growth climbing to 134.32p per litre.
Prices this steep have not been seen since 2013, but why is fuel so expensive? It is because crude oil has almost doubled in price over the last year. In June 2020 a barrel of crude oil cost $40.27 but now stands at an astounding $76.12 per barrel. This includes an increase of $8 per barrel since May alone. Furthermore, analysts speculate we may be looking at a fuel deficit before the end of the year which would lead to further price hikes.
So, how can you potentially save money and fuel at the same time? At Acorn Insurance, we understand how important it is to get value for money. As specialist providers of private car insurance, our handy guide below provides key considerations and useful tips for motorists on saving money both at the pumps and behind the wheel.
Ways to improve fuel efficiency
Fuel prices can be a concern for drivers, particularly if you are living on a budget, so understanding a few ways to improve fuel efficiency can make a big difference long term. Not only will you save fuel but also lower the carbon emissions of your car, helping the planet too!
Use the correct tyre pressure
Firstly, it is important that you check your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure every couple of weeks. Incorrectly inflated tyres can reduce vehicle performance and increase fuel costs. The more tyre in contact with the road the more drag and fuel consumed as a result. Depending on the load you are carrying vary your tyre pressure accordingly. Heavier loads require your tyres to be inflated to the maximum recommended pressures.
Go easy on acceleration
Secondly, accelerating gently and ensuring you avoid unnecessary speeds is key to fuel-efficient driving. Whilst it is impossible to avoid acceleration whilst driving, do so as smoothly as possible to improve fuel efficiency. Driving in the highest gear possible whilst keeping within the speed limit is an effective way to improve your miles per gallon (MPG). Change up through the gears using the lowest revs possible. Ideally around 2000rpm, as the harder the engine works the more fuel it consumes.
Reduce weight to increase efficiency
Thirdly, the heavier the vehicle, the more fuel it will use. Remove unnecessary items from the vehicle that are likely to increase its overall weight and increase drag. Drag is the force applied to the body of a moving vehicle that affects speed and performance. This force is increased the faster you drive and causes your car to burn more fuel. Items that commonly effect vehicle drag include:
- Roof racks
- Roof boxes
- Bike racks
- Open windows
- Novelty flags
For the same reason, do not store items that you will not need at that time in your car or boot as they all add weight to your vehicle. These items could include sports equipment, toys, deckchairs etc.
Finally, only fill your tank with as much fuel as you need. Some vehicles can hold up to 109 litres of fuel. That is the equivalent of 109 litre bottles of water on your back seat which is not going to assist long-term fuel economy.
Regularly service your car
Regular services can ensure that your vehicle gets a thorough check to flag any issues before your next MOT. Having a full-service history could help to add value also. Servicing your car not only affects fuel economy but also reduces the risk of breaking down and incurring further expensive repairs. Your car should be serviced approximately once per year or every 10,000-12,000 miles to keep it running smoothly.
How to save money on fuel?
With the average MPG for UK cars at 38.8, it is not unreasonable to want to save money on fuel. Petrol cars achieve approximately 36 MPG whilst diesel cars can achieve a higher level of 43 MPG. We can, however, offer tips that could save you money at the pumps.
Download the PetrolPrices app
PetrolPrices allows you to compare petrol, diesel, and premium fuel prices in your area. You can search by postcode, town or city and filter the information to find the cheapest stations nearby. The average member could save as much as £200 a year on fuel. The app is free to download and available for both iOS and Android devices.
Join a petrol station loyalty scheme
These loyalty card schemes encourage customers to continue to fill up at their favourite stations. Every time you fill up points are accumulated. These points can then be exchanged for rewards (snacks, gift cards, charity donations) or discounts on fuel later. Loyalty schemes available include:
- Esso Nectar: Enables customers to collect Nectar points on fuel purchases and save money.
- BPme: Earn points and view the balance, opt into offers, and access your digital BPme Rewards card.
- Texaco Star Rewards: Buy 1 litre of fuel and get 1 Point. Redeem 500 Points, get a £5 voucher/gift card.
Take your time whilst refuelling
Did you know that the fuel nozzle from a pump station can hold up to 250ml of fuel? That is almost an entire can of soft drink. Wait a moment for the nozzle to drain fully into your tank after filling up. It could save you money and reduces the risk of splash damage to your car’s paintwork. If you have paid for fuel make sure it goes in your tank and not all over the forecourt floor.
How to save fuel when driving?
Driving at a smooth and efficient average speed could save you fuel whilst driving. Typically, most cars reach peak fuel efficiency at 55-65mph. Driving any faster will make fuel efficiency decrease rapidly.
This method of “Eco-driving” highlights fuel efficiency, speed, and safety. It could also save you money. The key principles include:
- Shift up: Change gear early and in low revs. If you are confident in your abilities as a driver, you could skip gears when appropriate.
- Slow down: Having a lead foot will burn through your fuel just as fast. Slow down and save fuel.
- Step off: Remain in gear but take your foot off the accelerator as early as possible when slowing down or driving downhill. This activates the fuel cut-off switch, reducing fuel usage to almost zero.
- Drive smart: Avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration. Maintain a greater distance from the vehicle in front, so that you can regulate your speed when necessary without using the brakes.
Why not see if you can save on your insurance too?
With experience in the insurance industry since 1982, we can offer a wide range of specialist insurance policies that can be tailored to your unique insurance needs. We consider all drivers, regardless of your circumstances. Our friendly team of experts are on hand to try and help you to find an insurance policy that is just right for you.
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*Fuel and oil prices correct at time of publication 29/07/2021
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