Martin Wedge, MD of CarContractHire.com, offers these money-saving tips:
Tyre pressures. Just a 3 psi drop in tyre pressure means a 2 per cent rise in how much fuel you're burning Always set the pressures to the manufacturers recommendations, which are usually found in a door shut or the handbook. If there is a higher setting for ‘sports’ driving or for heavy luggage, use that one all the time. Don’t go any higher as this will wear the centre of your tyres; and over-inflated tyres have a smaller contact patch that will impact handling and stopping.
Air conditioning can increase fuel consumption by as much as 15 per cent, although this can be even worse in a car with a small engine because the air conditioning pumps are the same drag whatever your engine size. In the winter watch out for auto defrost settings as many use the air conditioning to dehumidify and the system may then stay on for the rest of the trip. Clear the screen then turn off the air conditioning.
Fully opening the windows creates massive drag and accelerates fuel drain. In the summer drop the windows a little and turn the air conditioning off.
Your driving style is by far the easiest way to save. Take a close look at your throttle foot and how you accelerate. Even on those long motorway cruises you may be involuntarily squeezing and releasing the throttle thereby constantly changing your speed, whether it be a conscious reaction to outside information, traffic or other drivers, or a subconscious reaction to music or even the conversation going on inside the car. Every squeeze costs fuel.
Planning a trip - take a longer round trip rather than popping out repeatedly here and there, as it will show improvements in your travel costs.
It’s a myth that you should coast down hills in neutral. If the engine is idling in neutral while you zoom downhill, it is using fuel. Don’t turn it off and coast. You might even just lock the steering which is incredibly dangerous.
If you see a petrol tanker delivering fuel at a petrol station, drive on to the next forecourt on your journey if you can. The huge turbulence caused by the bulk drop off of fuel into large tanks stirs up the muck, sand and water at the bottom, which means you may be then buying fuel with additives you don’t want.
Fuel saving gizmos don’t work. If any of them really worked, car manufacturers would be fitting them already, they are not.
Don’t get a roof rack or don’t use your roof rack unless you really need to. You will be increasing the drag which means your petrol tank will drain at an alarming rate.
Change up the gears early using light throttle. Many new cars have a change up now light on the dashboard, this will come on earlier with lighter throttle, use it as a guide, these work well.