Increase your fuel efficiency and save money

Written by

Tara Covell

Thursday 25th February 2021

Motorists up and down the country have seen petrol prices hit their highest level in almost eight years, due to a growing demand for fuel as the economy opens back up after national lockdowns.

With the average price of petrol being 135.13p and recent surges in demand causing forecourts to run dry, making your fuel last longer after filling up has never been as important.

Here at Hitachi Personal Finance, we've put together some of the best practical driving tips to help you reduce fuels costs and increase your driving efficiency.

Maintain your vehicle

Simple problems such as blocked air filters and faulty spark plugs can make your vehicle less efficient, costing you more in fuel as well as potentially damaging your motor.

Keeping your car in good working condition with regular maintenance and servicing is not only important for the safety of yourself and other road users, but it can also save fuel and money in the long run.

Remove unnecessary weight

The heavier your car is, the more fuel it will use so it stands to reason to try and make your vehicle as light as you can.

Having a clear out and removing unnecessary items such that roof rack or box which isn’t currently in use, that snow shovel you left in over winter or your child’s pram when they’re staying at home.

While sticking to the rule of only having what you need in the car for that journey may sometime be a slight inconvenience, you’ll be surprised how much fuel you can save in the long run.

Reduce Drag

When we talk about drag, we’re referring to the extra work your car must do to cut through the air when there’s extra wind resistance. This is caused by items like roof boxes, bike racks and even those little flags you can attach to your windows!

According to the Energy Saving Trust an empty roof rack adds 16% drag and a roof box adds 39% drag when driving at 75mph, both of which will have a huge impact on your fuel economy.

Before you set off on your next journey, take the time to remove these unnecessary items before leaving.

Look after your tyres

It’s important to ensure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure as under or over inflated tyres can affect fuel economy.

Tyre pressures will vary depending on the load you are carrying so if you have a full car and luggage then your tyres need to be inflated to the maximum recommended pressures.

Even having the correct type of tyre to match the current weather conditions can result in using fewer miles per gallon and making your fuel stretch even further.

Stick to the speed limits

Did you know that driving at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than compared to driving at 70mph (which is the maximum speed limit in the UK)?

Excessive speed is one of the fastest ways to burn through your fuel so its pays to have a light right foot and accelerate more gently.

Another tip for urban driving is to change up through the gears as quickly as you can with the lowest revs possible because the faster an engine spins, the more fuel it uses.

Turn your air conditioning off

Unless it’s really hot or uncomfortable cold in the car, it's best to keep the air-con turned off for long periods of time.

Using it puts strain on the engine and in turn more fuel is used, especially at lower speeds. The same applies to heated windscreens, demisters and other bits of tech.

The general rule is to use fresh air via an open window at lower speeds and air con when driving at high speed.

However, make sure to use your air con from time to time. This will ensure it remains in good working order as prolonged periods of no use can cause future issues.

Plan your journeys

Take the time to plan out longer journeys in advance to avoid getting stuck in traffic, reduce idling time because of roadworks or being caught up in the school run.

If you have a sat-nav, this is a great way to map out your route ahead of time and reducing the chances of getting lost and driving farther than necessary.

It's also good to make a note of where you can find the cheapest petrol stations along your route to prevent getting caught short and end up having to pay more than necessary at a motorway services.

Go electric

Even though buying an electric car may seem like a bit of an investment, their running costs are typically much lower than a conventionally fuelled vehicle.

According to Direct Line, the annual running cost for a pure electric car is 21%* cheaper and refuelling costs are 58%* less when compared to a petrol car meaning you can save money (and the environment) in the long run.

Car Loans & Financing from Hitachi Personal Finance

If you want to upgrade your current motor to a more fuel efficient model, we have low-cost car loans starting from just 3.1% APR Representative between £7,500 and £25,000.

*Statistics correct at time of publication