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How To Save Money on Fuel

Updated on September 11, 2010

Save Money, Drive Safer

A recent report demonstrated how it is possible to save as much as £800 a year on the cost of fuelling your car simply by driving more efficiently. Tests around the Millbrook Proving Circuit in Befordshire, UK, demonstrated how the average driver could increase their cars fuel consumption by driving correctly.

While more and more car manufacturers are installing equipment such as stop/start buttons, low rolling resistance tyre, pressure indicators and more efficient engines, one of the greatest increases in a cars mileage is in the drivers hands.

Steady Driving, Greater Mileage

What was found was that many drivers waste vast amounts of money, effort and time, while contributing hundreds of tons of CO2 emissions by driving erratically. However, it doesn't mean sticking rigidly to 39mph but by driving in a more responsible manner.

Many drivers are guilty of over revving their engines, driving for too long in too low a gear, suddenly accelerating and braking sharply. Also by not responding to the conditions of the roads around them they are increasing their cost of driving. Cutting down on these basic errors and paying a little more care and attention can save as much as 60% on your average fuel bill.

And Away We Go

Over revving the cars engine was one of the greatest mistakes made by most drivers and one that puts considerable expense on running your car. Experts recommend that you keep the cars revs to around 2,500 for petrol or 2,000 with diesel engines. The majority of drivers though insist on running their cars at over 3,000 revs and therefore using excess petrol and placing additional strain on the engine. You should also avoid causing the engine to labour by changing into top gear too soon as this is another cause of increased fuel use.

Uneven driving can be a mistake as well, by not watching the road, accelerating rapidly and hitting the breaks at the last minute waste the cars forward energy. Smooth driving is the key factor, gently reach the desired speed and cruise along, steadily slowing down to roundabouts and traffic lights and pulling away easily. All the time using the cars own inertia to keep moving.

Don't burn fuel, sip it

Speed bumps can also be a drain on the wallet, the temptation is always to race between them, slamming on the brakes and off again. If you keep the vehicles speed to around 15 - 20mph you will save considerable amounts and avoid extra wear and tear on the car.

Motorway driving and high speeds will also quench the thirsty engine, at 75mph it is not possible to keep the cars revs around 2,500/ 2,000 and the gauge will plummet. The difference between 70mph and 50mph causes around 15% more fuel to be required.  

Car maintenance also has its effects, with things like incorrect tyre pressure, roof racks and unnecessary clutter adding to the cars weight and effecting performance. In heavy traffic letting the car idle or just turning it off saves you money, while cruising in neutral down steep hills is of no value. Adversely this places the driver in more danger as you loose your ability to accelerate out of trouble.

Things like driving without the radio on make no difference and although vegetable oil can save money your car will smell like a chip shop and super-unleaded gives increased  mileage, on average 13 miles per tank but also costs you more. Using air-conditioning at low speeds, around town can be costly and just winding the windows down is as effective but high speeds open windows change the aerodynamics of the car and slow it down considerably. 

Best Advice

The best advice from the tests seems to be that greatest savings are made when you drive steadily, not necessarily slow, keep an eye on the revs and surroundings, checking your tyre pressure regularly reducing the cars weight. These combined, can save the ordinary driver quiet a few pennies over the course of the year.

As the cost of motoring, fuel, tax and servicing seem to be increasing year on year any savings in running a car must be worth looking at. The more we drive like a chauffeur, the better our mileage, the more money we'll save and the better our cars will run.


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    • knell63 profile image

      knell63 7 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      I know what you mean Kaie, I drive a 69 VW Camper that drinks petrol. I would still like to get a decent car and try out the theory to see if it works in practice. Thanks for your support.

    • Kaie Arwen profile image

      Kaie Arwen 7 years ago

      It doesn't matter what I do............. my Jeep's fuel will never be saved. :-( Time to get a car........... maybe!

    • knell63 profile image

      knell63 7 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      lol, Steve, you know we'll both be tearing up the tarmac tomorrow with the air-con on complaining about the price of petrol. It is an interesting experiment just to see how much more you can get for your money.

      Thanks Amanda, Ankigarg and Hello, I hate to sound like a preacher but I did like the idea that you could do something this simple and be better off.

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      I guess i will roll the windows up and drive a little slower and try to go steady over the speed bumps. Thanks for reminding me that I can save on fuel by driving right.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Very, very useful tip. Petrol certainly needs to be watched and you gave a great advise.

    • profile image

      ankigarg87 7 years ago

      this is an excellent hub page

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

      I've never looked at my rev counter Neil, but I shall make a point of doing so in future! Good tips, BTW.