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How to save petrol: 10 ways to cut your car’s fuel bill

With petrol and diesel prices soaring, find out how to save money on your car fuel bill by driving smarter and being more fuel efficient
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9 fuel saving tips that every driver should know
9 fuel saving tips that every driver should know

Fuel prices have skyrocketed in 2022. The RAC Fuel Watch shows unleaded petrol has risen in price by more than 46% this year, while diesel has gone up more than 51%. Saving money on fuel has never been more important.

Other than shopping around to find the best fuel efficient cars or the best deal at the pumps, drivers often feel that their hands are tied when it comes to the high cost of petrol.

Even if your car isn’t particularly fuel efficient there is plenty you can do to save money on petrol. Find out how.

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One: save petrol by keeping your tyres in check

Make sure your tyres are inflated to the recommended level — research from Kwik Fit found drivers are wasting almost £1bn a year on excess fuel by driving with under-inflated tyres. Correctly inflated tyres are also safer and will last longer.

  • well maintained tyres don’t just save petrol they help you drive safely

  • check tyre pressures regularly – especially when you are going on a long journey

  • the RAC says you can improve fuel consumption by as much as 2%

Two: how to save fuel by driving with lower revs

Over-revving your car can use unnecessary fuel, so always change gear as soon as you need to.

  • don’t let your revs - revolutions per minute or RPM - run too high before going up a gear – for example 2,500 (petrol) and 2,000 (diesel)

  • always opt for a higher gear when you can

Three: make petrol last longer by losing weight

Wind resistance increases fuel consumption and a lighter car will use less fuel, so don’t drive around with unnecessary items in your boot or on your roof. And, unless you’re on a long journey, you don’t need a full fuel tank.

  • keep windows closed when you can – especially when you are on the motorway

  • roof and bike racks can add at least 10% to your petrol costs so only use when necessary

9 fuel saving tips that every driver should know

Four: make petrol last longer - drive a manual

Cars with automatic transmission can use 10% to 15% more fuel than manuals. There is a trend towards semi-automatics – cars which use both manual and automatic transmissions. 

Five: save on petrol by being a sensible driver 

Driving in heels or big, heavy shoes reduces the sensitivity needed to operate the accelerator. It may seem strange but wearing a pair of thin-soled shoes could allow you to gain better control over how hard you accelerate and how gently you brake.

You can also:

  • try to avoid braking hard, accelerating, then braking

  • try to drive along at a steady 15-20mph instead

  • always drive smoothly in heavy traffic 

  • avoid driving fast to catch up to the car in front then having to brake

Six: save fuel by looking after your car

Have your car serviced on a regular basis to make sure your engine is running at its most efficient. 

  • taking care of your car also means using the right specification of engine oil

Seven: save on petrol by sticking to speed limits

The faster you drive, the more fuel you use. AA research shows that driving at 70mph can mean you use 9% more fuel than at 60mph. If you drive at 80mph you can use up to 25% more fuel than driving at 70mph.

Eight: keep your engine turned off

If it’s safe to do so, turn your engine off when you’re caught in traffic, stopped or parked. 

  • many drivers often like to ‘warm up’ the engine before setting off on a cold winter morning — this can waste petrol and cause damage to the engine, making it best avoided

Nine: save on fuel and limit the air-con

Air-conditioning can increase fuel consumption at low speeds, but at higher speeds the effects are less noticeable. 

  • open the windows when it’s hot and save the air-conditioning for motorway driving.

Ten: drive less, walk more

It’s as obvious as it sounds, but the best way to save on petrol costs is to only use your car when you really need to. 

  • leaving the car at home for short trips and walking, cycling or using public transport instead. try and opt for car sharing for your commute.

And when all else fails you can shop around for petrol and similar sites allow you to compare the fuel prices at forecourts in any postcode.

  • supermarkets often run petrol promotions 

  • but always be careful not to add miles to your journey just to save a penny a litre

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See a range of car insurance quotes in just a few minutes when you compare with Uswitch