Let Fuel Take You Further | Improve Fuel Consumption

The day I started writing this post, the UK average price for unleaded was 139.84p, diesel 146.34p, and by the time you’re reading it, they will likely have increased again. The price of petrol in the UK has been causing disputes and headaches for UK motorists and businesses alike for decades, but is proving with every rise that UK motorists have few options or alternatives to driving, and could be considered a captive market…
Petrol can
It would appear that UK motorists are still far too dependent on their cars to mount any kind of significant protest against rising fuel prices. The price per litre has risen this year by around 6.24p since early January, adding around £3.12 to the cost of filling a typical 50-litre tank. It’s a significant and worrying increase, but most of us are at the mercy of the pumps and would sooner find ways of cutting back on other daily expenses than giving up our cars. However, whilst you can’t beat the rising fuel costs, you can avoid some of the impact that price rises have on you by using some of the following tips for getting the most out every penny in your tank, increasing your mpg and helping your fuel take you further.

When Buying:                                                                               
1.       Shop around – Using the internet to find the best fuel price in your area is straightforward, and the savings will add up considerably over time, although…
2.       Don’t overdo it – It’s not worth driving miles out of your way to save a few pennies. Plan when and where to fill up and think about the most economical way to do it.
3.       Petrol offers – Your local supermarket may offer discounts or other deals on their fuel if you spend enough in store. Look into and cash in on them.
4.       Buy fuel during the coolest times of day – Or at night. This is when fuel will be at its densest, meaning you’ll get more for your money, since fuel pumps measure in volumes.

When Driving:
5.       Lighten the load – Don’t carry anything unnecessary in the car. It’s estimated that for every 250 lbs. extra you carry, you lose 1mpg in fuel economy.
6.       Drive at a constant & moderate speed – Slow acceleration and breaking over longer distances is, second to buying a more fuel efficient car, the best way to improve your running costs. It’ll depend on your vehicle, but a motorway speed of around 60mph is a safe bet for close-to-optimum mileage.
7.       Don’t idle – For more than 30 seconds. Switching off and back on your engine does use a burst of fuel, but still less than letting the vehicle idle for too long.
8.       Take it easy on the throttle – If you avoid accelerating quickly and braking sharply, you’ll not only save on fuel, but also but on wear and tear on your brakes too.

Maintaining Your Vehicle:
9.       Check tyre pressures regularly – Maintaining your tyres at the manufacturer-recommended pressure can increase fuel economy by as much as 3.3%.
10.   Filters – During your MOT it can be worth getting a service, or even just the air filters on your vehicle replaced. Recent research suggests dirty air filters can cost motorists up to 10% on their fuel economy.
11.   Keep your car in good working order – Following manufacturer recommendations on servicing, oil replacement etc. will not only maintain your car’s health, but can maintain its optimum fuel economy.

One potential, though expensive solution to expensive fuel costs is to purchase a hybrid or electric car. The potential fuel economy of these vehicles is improving all the time, however, there are some genuine concerns you should look into over the environmental and monetary impact such a purchase will have on you in the future; that new technology is still developing and so is more likely to encounter problems and cost you in repairs, and the battery acid in electric and hybrid vehicles is not only environmentally damaging but expensive to dispose of, and to replace when they eventually need to be.
These are important things to consider before going out and buying the greenest, most fuel efficient motor you can find, since as always with motoring, there are going to be unexpected costs. If you’re a driver of a Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, or a Bentley Continental GT, then it’s likely that a change of vehicle might be the way to achieve decent mileage. On the other hand, for all drivers, the costs involved in purchasing a new vehicle will often outweigh a few years’ worth of potential savings on fuel economy.
All of the above tips can help you increase the number of mile’s you get for your money, but the fact is that driving is becoming more and more expensive every year. From hiking insurance and tax costs to congestion charges, the modern, savvy driver will be taking every opportunity to beat the system and save money, from using comparison to sneaking out at midnight to buy denser petrol - it’s really up to you how far you want to take the ‘economy drive’, but it’s likely that we can expect the cost of driving to get worse before it gets better, if ever it does.

This article was written by David Rendell, content writer for the car insurance comparison site, Confused.com