Fuel is one cost of driving that it’s impossible to escape from. To save money, it makes sense to get the best possible economy out of your car. This is measured in miles per gallon (mpg) even though – confusingly ‑ we buy our fuel in litres. Follow our tips and you’ll get the best possible mileage from every gallon of fuel.
Keep it serviced
Regular servicing will ensure your car runs as efficiently as it possibly can. Keeping the engine lubricated enables parts to move effortlessly, improving mpg. And you’ll be reassured to know that a well-serviced car will suffer fewer breakdowns too.
Pump the tyres up
When tyres are running at the recommended air pressure, the amount of friction against the road’s surface is reduced. In turn, this means the engine doesn’t have to work as hard to turn the wheels. And that results in it using less fuel.
Take weight out
The more weight a car is carrying, the harder the engine must work to turn the wheels. Take the mouldy gym kit out of the boot and remove that set of golf clubs you only use once a month and you’ll save on the amount of fuel you use.
The gentler you accelerate the less fuel you’ll use. If your car has a manual gearbox, practice what’s known as short shifting. This is when you change gear to keep the revs as low as possible. The less hard an engine is working, the less fuel it’ll burn.
Anticipate as much as possible
Concentrate while you’re driving and look ahead as much as you can. This will help you to anticipate road conditions in front. Do that successfully and you won’t be accelerating unnecessarily towards a traffic light that could turn red at any moment.
Maintain your momentum
Keep momentum up by successfully anticipating what’s going on ahead and you’ll save fuel. Stay a good distance from the car in front and look as far up the road as you can safely see. That will help you to spot hazards such as cars emerging from junctions, enabling you to ease off the accelerator in plenty of time. Slowing down loses momentum and means you have to burn fuel to build up speed again.
Remove roof bars and boxes
Car makers spend many hours in wind tunnels honing the aerodynamic shape of cars so they slip through the air with the least possible wind resistance. Putting roof bars and boxes on them ruins all that. And the increased drag means the engine must burn more fuel to get up to speed.
Warm engines are more efficient
The warmer an engine is, the more efficiently it’ll run. Try to combine journeys rather than doing lots of short trips. This will ensure the engine is operating at its peak efficiency,
Stick to the speed limit
This won’t just ensure you stay on the right side of the law, it’ll also help you to save fuel. Remember the optimum speed to travel at in fuel economy terms is 45mph ‑ though obviously you don’t want to be doing this in a 30mph limit!
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.