Fuel Efficient Driving Will Save You Money

Posted on March 21st, 2012 by GEM Motoring Assist

With the Chancellor of the Exchequer announcing in his budget today that the Government will press on with plans to raise the cost of fuel by 3.02p a litre from August, GEM Motoring Assist, the number one for breakdown cover in the UK and road safety organisation, is advising motorists to be more fuel efficient and is providing crucial money-saving tips for drivers feeling the pinch.


As the high duty on petrol continues to affect struggling families and businesses across the country, GEM is encouraging motorists to find other ways to save on fuel in these tough times.  With easy-to-make changes, such as reducing average speed, regularly checking tyre pressure, and removing unnecessary weight in and on your car, the organisation believes fuel bills could be significantly reduced.


“Despite constant pressure from motoring groups and businesses nationwide during recent months, it is now confirmed that the Government will be going ahead with its plans which will no doubt spark serious repercussions.  We know that this will have a huge affect on all UK motorists and often leads to drivers cutting corners in other areas which can become a serious road safety issue.  We believe there are simple, yet effective, steps motorists can take to ensure the fuel they pay for goes as far as possible,” says David Williams MBE, CEO of GEM Motoring Assist.


GEM’s Top tips for fuel efficient driving:


  1. Get it Checked: Modern car engines are complicated pieces of machinery, which rely on a vast array of electronic components that can easily fail. To ensure maximum efficiency from your engine, have your car serviced regularly by a recognised garage. A poorly tuned engine can use up to 50 per cent more fuel and produce up to 50 per cent more emissions than a car that is well looked after.


  1. Tread Carefully:  Ensure that your tyres are always inflated to the correct pressure once a month.  Tyres are key to saving money: if you’re running around with just one tyre deflated by 20 per cent, then you can expect your fuel consumption to rise by five per cent. You’ll also face the additional costs of replacing the tyres prematurely as well as compromising safety.


  1. Lose Weight: Never carry unnecessary weight in the car as it will reduce efficiency. You can expect fuel consumption to rise by one per cent for every one per cent of the car’s weight you add, so golf clubs, push chairs, tool boxes should be removed when they are not needed. Also remove roof racks, cycle racks, and storage boxes as they affect the aero-dynamics of the car.


  1. Eliminate short journeys: Make a point of not using your car for journeys of less than a mile, if it’s practical. You won’t be able to walk back from the local garden centre with sacks of compost, but if it’s just a quick nip to the shops, then consider walking or cycling. Cold engines are thirsty engines, so that mile-long journey will be relatively expensive, however light-footed you might be.


  1. Plan Ahead: Take a little time to plan your journeys to avoid congestion, to ensure you take the best route and that you know exactly where you are going. An estimated 350,000 tonnes of fuel is wasted every year by people being lost in their cars.


  1. Slow Down: Reducing your average speed by just a few MPH can have noticeable effect on your fuel consumption and your wallet. Most cars run at their most efficient around 60 mph. Every five mph above that you drive, you will lose six per cent of your fuel economy.


  1. Nice and Easy does it: Most drivers could save a significant amount of fuel by simply reading the road further ahead and slowing earlier for traffic lights, and other hazards, thus avoiding unnecessary acceleration, heavy braking and then acceleration again while pulling away.  Carrying out these manoeuvres in a steady more controlled way will not add to your journey time but will reduce your fuel bill.


  1. Keep Your Cool: Most cars are now fitted with air conditioning but if the extra cooling is not needed by you or your passengers switch the air conditioning off to reduce demand on the engine. However, the system must not be turned off for long periods as harmful bacteria can build up and could prove costly to repair. Use air conditioning sparingly but ensure it is on for several minutes at least every couple of weeks.


Remember, at higher speeds opening car windows may save the use of the air conditioning but it will increase the ‘drag’ on the car thus outweighing the fuel saving. So keep windows and sun roofs closed on faster roads.


  1. Exploring for fuel: The price of fuel can vary greatly between suppliers. However, if it requires an extra journey to seek out where to save a few pence per litre there may not be an overall saving in money. Try to remember where the best deals are and fill up when you are passing rather than make a separate journey.


  1. A bit drastic: If you are able to avoid just one journey each week, by walking or cycling, the financial saving at the end of the year could be substantial.


If you are thinking of changing your car, consider carefully your true needs as it may     be possible to swap to a smaller, more fuel efficient model. Due to recent regulations, in general terms, the newer the car the more fuel efficient it is likely to be. All new cars have to have clear details as to their fuel efficiency.


Visit our new website, www.motoringassist.com, to view GEM’s useful motoring advice as well as great value breakdown cover policies.