12 great ways to save petrol
Whether you run a single car or a fleet of vans, you can always get more for your refuelling money.
Some of these tips are for the company to implement, some will rely upon individual drivers.
The more of these tips you follow, the less you will spend on petrol.
1. Turn off air-conditioning
With our climate there really isn’t too much need to operate the air-con continuously. As it eats 5% of fuel (and on some cars considerably more than that), turn it off for an easy saving. But don’t open the windows instead. You’ll increase drag and, ironically, return worse economy figures than with air con on.
2. Be selective when choosing which fuel to use
For example Shell’s renowned ultra low sulphur diesel (derv) and petrol with performance additives, Shell FuelSave, can deliver improved fuel economy, up to to 3% lower exhaust emissions, cleaner refuelling, and added protection and longevity for your fleet – and all available at a low fixed weekly price.
3. Close Windows
Cruising along with your arm in the wind feels good, but the increased drag will have your car’s aerodynamic designer holding his head in his hands. Close them to please him, reduce drag, ease the body’s passage through the air and improve economy.
4. Use cruise control
Set it at 70mph on the motorway and it’ll maintain your speed while using not a drop of fuel more than it has to. Computers are far more sensitive than a human’s right foot, so let the car do the calculations and watch the savings on the fuel economy meter. If it’s “adaptive cruise” which uses radar to keep a set distance behind the car in front, then so much the better
5. Drive more slowly
We’re not talking 25mph everywhere – but the difference between 70mph and 80mph on the motorway is considerable. Up to 5mpg in some cars, sometimes more. And really, many motorways are so crowded, going faster doesn’t mean better progress, anyway. You simply arrive at the congestion more quickly.
6. Drive smoothly
Boy racers, take note. Instead of charging between lights, stopping and starting continuously, try to look ahead. Anticipate the lights, don’t stress the car unduly, predict the traffic flow – anything you can do to make the same progress for less work on the accelerator.. Now that’s cool.
7. Use Higher Gears
Third-gear fiends should change up to fifth even at lower speeds, to improve economy by 20%. Don’t labour the engine though – incorrect use of higher gears does nothing for efficiency, either. Use the rev counter as your guide.
8. Pay less per litre
The most obvious way to spend less is to buy at a lower price – and the best way to do that is with the right fuel card. Find out more here.
9. Share a car
Want to improve economy by 50 per cent? Share a car with a friend! A little organisation with work colleagues and you’ll also benefit from all the gossip, better social skills and maybe even a date and subsequent marriage. Who says saving fuel is dull?
10. Avoid short journeys
Cold cars, even modern ones, have an insatiable thirst for fuel when cold. A car capable of 40mpg on a gentle motorway run can plunge to 15mpg or less on a few-mile run in town. By walking short distances, you’re saving a tremendous amount of fuel.
11. Turn off the engine
You’d be surprised how long you can wait at some traffic lights – save fuel for those minutes by flicking off the engine. The Citroen C2 Stop Start, which does just this, can improve economy by 10% in town. Do it yourself, without the expense of buying a new car.
12. Check tyre pressures
50% of tyres in the UK are under-inflated; 2psi below the recommended pressure can increase consumption by 1 per cent. Don’t trust pump forecourt gauges though, as they’re often incorrect. A £5 pressure gauge will help keep your tyres spot-on.