Going to the local petrol station these days is rather like visiting a rather dodgy market, never knowing how you are going to get ripped off. The state of the world dictates how fuel prices will go and speculators add fuel to the fire. In these troubled times, anyone who has filled up with petrol or diesel recently will know to their cost just how high pump prices have risen.
As long as the global price for crude oil remains high, ultimately, the cost will continue to be passed on at the pumps. Figures circa £90 for a tank of diesel have been reported at time of writing, for example. There’s nothing that the average motorist can do about that, but there are some steps drivers can make use of to help save previous drops of the golden nectar. Here are our tips for economic motoring:
Get A Service
The very best way that any car owner can save money on expensive jungle juice is to book the car in for maintenance. Your local professional car servicing garage can ensure that the vehicle is running as sweetly as a summer stream. Oils and fluids can be checked and refreshed and air filters changed; timing and fuel flow can be adjusted and so on. This and more will ensure fuel efficiency. The garage will also advise on general condition; even a piece of loose trim or a faulty exhaust will affect consumption. There are also things that an owner can do for themselves:
Mind How You Drive
Rapid or harsh acceleration makes the engine revolutions rise quickly. The harder you press, the more fuel is used, the faster the tank is drained. Try to observe a modest, smooth and measured transition through to the higher gears, which will use less fuel. Also, try to drive without constantly braking. By viewing the road ahead and assessing the situation, smoother, cleaner progress will help make savings.
No, not you, the car. Remove all the accumulated junk in the boot, keeping only what is needed for emergencies; the spare and so on. There’s nothing that can be done for holiday luggage but try to keep the interior clear of junk. Additional weight in the car makes the engine work harder, using more fuel.
You Don’t Always Need A Roof Rack
As well as extra unnecessary weight, a rooftop box or roof-rack that’s not in use creates drag, once again putting additional strain on the hard-working motor under the bonnet. Certainly, we need to use roof accessories sometimes but it doesn’t take a minute to take them off.
Check The Tyres
Yes, this is a regular feature in many car articles but for good reason. Tyres are at their most efficient when inflated to the recommended level. If the pressure is too low, the engine works harder, rather like trying to cycle on a puncture. Not efficient. Condition matters too; check for wear and tear regularly or have your car servicing garage attend to it.
Don’t Be An Idler
Avoid sitting with the engine running if you can: That’s why many cars now have a ‘stop/start’ feature. The power needed to restart will be less than that used when idling at in a queue or at the lights.
Top Tip: Never leave the car running to defrost the windscreen and ‘warm up’. Cars work best when quickly warmed and the best way to do that is to drive them. Modern air-con systems defrost quickly these days anyway. By the way, if your idling car gets stolen while you are indoors, your insurance company won’t like it either. Just a thought.
There’s not much we can do about pump prices but if we need to use our cars as usual in difficult times then we should try and help ourselves.