With fuel prices rocketing to record highs, filling up at the pumps has become the stuff of nightmares for UK motorists in 2022. With petrol hitting 170 pence a litre this week (23rd May 2022) and diesel edging towards an eye-watering 182p, motorists are understandably feeling the pressure.
It was only a few weeks ago that the UK government reduced the tax duty on fuel by 5p a litre but it didn’t taken long for those savings to be wiped out as fuel costs continued to rise.
Whilst there are calls from petition groups to reduce duty further, or lower the rate of VAT, in the meantime us motorists will have to continue to decide between filling up or staying home.
Whilst we may not see any further savings passed on from the government any time soon, UK DPF Cleaning have put together 10 top tips for saving on fuel which could help you claw back some all important mileage costs!
1. Check your Tyre Pressures
Tyre pressure has a big impact on the amount of miles you can get out of your fuel tank. Under inflated tyres can increase your vehicle’s ‘drag’, meaning it requires more effort to pull your vehicle along. Tyres will naturally lose air at a rate of up to 2 PSI a month so make sure to top up your tyres air pressure regularly and always check your vehicles operating manual for optimal tyre pressures. For aftermarket tyres, check with your supplier.
A study conducted in the US found that ‘every 1 per cent decrease in tyre pressure correlated to a 0.3 per cent reduction in fuel economy’. That means if your tyres are only 70% inflated to their optimal pressure, you could be losing up to almost 10% fuel economy! The lower your tyre pressure falls, the faster your fuel economy crashes.
Make sure to never over inflate your vehicle tyres to try and compensate for air loss. Over inflated tyres can reduce your vehicles handling ability and can lead to uneven tyre wear and unexpected blow outs which can be very dangerous!
2. Maintain your vehicle, not just the tyres
Aside from tyre pressures, looking after your vehicle in general can help keep pennies in your pocket rather than the fuel pump. Annual servicing is useful but try to check oil and coolant levels regularly throughout the year.
Your vehicle could be running less efficiently then it should be if either of these are low or poor quality, which can heap pressure on your vehicle’s engine. An unhappy engine will inevitably lead to reduced fuel economy.
On diesel vehicles in particular, check to make sure your DPF filter is running at maximum efficiency. A blocked or clogged DPF filter could be drastically reducing your fuel economy. Find out more about how a DPF works and ways in which you can improve your DPF lifespan.
3. Ease up on the accelerator
We’re not saying you’re the next Lewis Hamilton by any means but check your average driving speeds and see if lifting that right foot a little could save you serious £££’s on fuel! Excessive speed has one of the biggest impacts on your vehicle’s fuel consumption.
Try and keep your vehicle revs down to between 2,000-3,000rpm by driving in as high a gear as possible, within the speed limit. Conversely, don’t drive along in too high a gear at low speeds or your engine will begin to labour. The faster or the harder your engine is working, the more fuel you’re going to burn. Find that sweet spot and your purse strings will thank you later.
4. Stay wary of what’s out in front and try to anticipate
You’re cruising along at 30mph and you can see a set of red lights in the distance. Naturally you’ll slow down and stop for those lights but what if we don’t have to stop?
Try easing up a little earlier and dropping your speed to say 10-15mph and lets see if those lights turn green by the time you’re within a few hundred yards.
Of course, always be sensible and don’t take any risks by running a red light – continue to be conscious of pedestrians and other road users, however, if there’s enough time to anticipate the lights changing you may not have to come to a complete stop. Accelerating from a standing start uses a lot more fuel than accelerating from a car already carrying momentum.
On the flip side of this, if you see a steep incline or hill approaching, increase your vehicle’s speed (within the speed limit, of course!) before you reach the incline and then start to ease off as you ascend. The increased momentum at the start might save you a little engine power further up that hill.
5. Use cruise control appropriately
For vehicles that have it, cruise control can offer a real luxury, not only in terms of driving experience but also on fuel economy. Used in the right circumstances cruise control can stabilise your engines revolutions, speed and ultimately fuel consumption – most notably on long, flat stretches of motorway or duel carriage way.
Your cruise control has been configured to select your vehicle’s best gear possible for the speed you are travelling at, removing any natural fluctuations in speed and revs from manual driving.
Be wary though – cruise control can increase fuel consumption if not used on flat roads as it can be slower to react to inclines and declines than you are as a driver.
Who doesn’t love air conditioning on a hot summer’s day?
When the mercury’s rising, air conditioning can seem like a god send but remember, air conditioning will drink fuel! Similarly, having the heat on high during the winter can also burn fuel.
7. Remove unnecessary weight
Carrying excess weight can dramatically increase fuel consumption. The heavier your car becomes, the harder your engine has to work to move it along.
If you regularly keep heavy or bulky items in your vehicle that aren’t entirely essential to your journey, consider placing them in the shed or somewhere that won’t hurt your fuel efficiency.
8. Use your trip computer (if available!)
Not all vehicles will have one, but since the turn of the century most will have some kind of trip computer. This will usually appear on the dashboard in front of the steering wheel or can be accessed from your in-car console. When filling up, reset your trip computer to measure your MPG (miles per gallon) and see what kind of MPG reading you have by the time you come to fill up again.
See if you can’t better than MPG score the next time it comes to filling up?
This might not work if you make lots of irregular trips but if your journeys are someone consistent, week to week or month to month, see if you can add an extra mile or two to your expected fuel efficiency each time you fill up. It could be fun and save you money!
9. Time to update or downsize?
Okay, sorry – admittedly this isn’t the most help piece of advice on the list. We’re not saying the easy way is to just buy a new car but if rising fuel costs is a big concern and your vehicle is a little more thirsty for fuel than it needs to be, it might be time to consider the benefits a more fuel efficient vehicle.
Shelling out on a new vehicle could end up costing you more than the rise in fuel costs which is why it’s not the greatest tip we’re offering, however for some caught in two minds about buying a different car, they may be swung by the greater fuel economy on offer elsewhere.
10. Driving around for cheaper fuel may not work out cheaper overall.
It’s not uncommon for motorists to drive out of their way to visit a fuel station they know offers cheaper fuel. However, look at the extra distance you might be travelling in order to get there. If you’re going 10 miles out of the way to save 5p a litre, you might actually end up burning those savings on that 20 mile round trip.
If you are lucky enough to be within a few miles of several fuel stations, check out the free petrolprices.com app which offers up to date prices on fuel stations near you, helping you find the cheapest fuel in your area.
Bonus Tip (You lucky thing, you!)
11. Look out for supermarket offers
Some leading supermarkets, including Tescos, Sainsbury’s, Asda & Morrisons have in the past offered customers discounts on fuel as a reward for shopping with them. For example, in February Morrisons were offering customers a voucher worth 7p off a litre when spending £40 or more in store. Whilst currently levels of inflation make it difficult for supermarkets to offer this, it’s not to say we won’t see them again so keep your eyes peeled!