‘Improve your car’s fuel efficiency’ 10 common petrol-guzzling mistakes costing Brits

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Petrol prices have risen to concerning levels for UK motorists in recent months, as a cost of living crisis grips the nation. Though the AA reports that costs fell marginally this past weekend, to 174.79p a litre on Thursday and diesel to 185.40p, there are some driving mistakes motorists could be making that are increasing how often they need to fill up.

Experts from A-Plan Insurance revealed there are some easy changes drivers can make today to “improve your car’s fuel efficiency.”

Watch your speed to reduce fuel consumption

The exact speed you drive at could help to boost fuel efficiency, with some speeds lending themselves to excess waste.

A spokesperson for A-Plan Insurance explained: “The RAC says driving at 45 – 50mph is the most efficient speed for fuel consumption, not the ‘56mph myth’ many have been adhering to.”

A report by the Department for Transport found that driving at 70mph uses up to 9 percent more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15 percent more than at 50mph. Driving at 80mph can use up to 25 percent more than at 70mph.

The spokesperson added: “Use cruise control for motorway driving if you have it.”

Watch your gears to reduce fuel consumption

Over-revving your engine can end up wasting valuable fuel.

The expert said: “Change up and down multiple gears at a time and change to the highest suitable gear as soon as you can to avoid over-revving.”

The AA advises against coasting, where you engage neutral or drive with the clutch held down, deeming it unsafe and unlikely to save you any fuel.

Accelerate and brake gently to reduce fuel consumption

Developing a smooth driving technique is a great way to save on fuel.

The expert said: “If you’re approaching traffic lights, for example, slow down early so that they may have changed by the time you reach them, meaning you might not need to stop at all.”

Focus is key to perfecting your driving technique. Try to anticipate in front of you and ease off the throttle and maintain momentum rather than braking hard and then accelerating again.

Remove weight and reduce drag to slash fuel consumption

Whether you’re carrying a lot of passengers or have been on a hefty shopping trip, having your car full to the brim can reduce fuel efficiency. The heavier your car is, the more fuel it needs to keep it moving.

The expert recommends removing any unnecessary items from the boot and detaching your bike or roof rack when you don’t need it.

Use aircon less often to reduce fuel consumption

In the midst of a heatwave, blasting the air conditioning may feel necessary, but according to the AA this can increase fuel consumption by up to 10 percent.

Opening your windows is a much cheaper method of cooling down.

Maintain your tyres to reduce fuel consumption

Your tyres are a crucial component of a car’s overall performance, and drivers should make sure to check tyre pressure at least once a month.

The A-Insurance spokesperson explained: “Under-inflated tyres burn more fuel. If tyres are eight pounds under-inflated, which is not an uncommon condition, rolling resistance of the tyres increases by five percent.”

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Regular services will help reduce fuel consumption

As well as keeping an eye on your tyres, the rest of your car requires frequent TLC too. The experts recommend keeping on top of oil, air and fuel filter replacements, ensuring these are all updated at the recommended intervals.

Avoid short trips to reduce fuel consumption

Walking isn’t just a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise, it can also save you money on petrol.

If there’s a journey that can be done on foot rather than by car, the expert urged Britons to seize the opportunity.

They added: “If you are taking short trips, it’s even more important to switch off that aircon as it will use most of its energy for the initial cool-down.”

Avoid traffic hotspots to reduce fuel consumption

Idling consumes around 0.6 litres of fuel per hour, so if a route is susceptible to traffic jams, you might want to rethink your journey.

The spokesperson said: “A vehicle with a stop/start engine is recommended if you are frequently stuck in jams.

“Google Maps can be a fuel saver by pointing out routes that are congested and offering alternatives that keep you moving.”

Upgrade your car to reduce fuel consumption

Upgrading your car certainly isn’t the cheapest way of saving on fuel in the short term, but it can be beneficial over time.

The spokesperson said: “While we’re focusing on money saving and realise a new car isn’t an option for many right now, some may be in a position to update their vehicle.

“With the rising cost of fuel, investing in a newer car though not necessarily brand new, will immediately save you a fortune in fuel. It can also reduce your road tax.

“Parkers rates the Renault Clio E-Tech as the UK’s most economical non-plug-in, averaging 73.8mpg, while the Peugeot 208 averages 71.4pmg.

“If you’re looking for a larger vehicle, the SEAT C3 averages 70.6mpg, and the Skoda Octavia, named as ‘best family car’ averages 65.7pmg.”

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