The price of petrol is going up once again this year, hiking up running costs for drivers. But there is an easy way to save money on fuel – practise fuel economy. Make a few tweaks to your driving style and car maintenance and you could dramatically increase your MPG.
MPG stands for miles per gallon. It calculates how many miles you can travel on a gallon of fuel.
For example if you travel 90 miles on 3 gallons of fuel, your car achieved 30MPG.
Bear in mind that MPG is an average figure, because the rate your car burns fuel varies depending on your speed and driving technique, as well as traffic and road conditions.
But simple changes can make a big difference to your MPG rate. These 10 fuel economy tips can help you get more miles per gallon and save money on your fuel bill.
According to an experiment by the AA, the average fuel consumption savings are around 10%. So if you usually spend £40 a week on petrol, you could save £208 over a year.
Engines burn more fuel by accelerating and decelerating than by travelling at a constant speed. Aim to keep your speed steady to reduce fuel consumption.
Sharp braking can cause your engine to burn fuel at a faster rate. Keep an eye on the road conditions further ahead to give yourself plenty of time to react and slow down gently.
Revving the engine too hard before changing gear hikes up your fuel consumption. Change up at 2500rpm for a petrol and 2000rpm for a diesel. But don’t go into a high gear too early – this increases strain on the engine.
Check your tyre pressure regularly – as often as every few weeks. Under-inflated tyres create more resistance and can reduce your MPG by 3%, as well as causing extra wear to the tread.
Simply slowing down can lower your fuel consumption. Driving at 80mph uses up to 25% more fuel than going at 70mph. Drop the speed to 60mph and save another 15%. But don’t assume that sluggish city driving is the answer – slow speeds at low gears burn lots of fuel.
It sounds surprising but the air conditioning cuts your fuel economy – by a huge 5% at full blast. Turn it off when you don’t need it and open the windows instead, especially at low speeds.
Many people think that coasting in neutral saves fuel, but modern cars cut fuel supply to the engine when you take your foot off the gas pedal, rather than when you take it out of gear. Plus coasting means you rely heavily on the brakes, wearing out pads faster.
Take out unnecessary weight to make the car lighter. Those golf clubs languishing in the boot are increasing your fuel consumption.
Using the car for short journeys decreases your MPG because starting the engine from cold uses more fuel. Combine several short errands into one journey and save time and money.
If you are sat in standstill traffic for a couple of minutes or more, turn off the engine. There is no point burning fuel to sit still.
Want to get even more MPG? Try a hybrid car – here are our top 7 models.