How to save on fuel costs

Prices at the pump have soared in recent weeks, with average fuel prices hitting an all-time high. Photo: Carl Recine/Reuters

Petrol prices have risen above £1.60 a liter on average for the first time as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to affect the cost of oil around the world.

As fuel prices hit record highs, here are ten ways drivers can lessen the shock when stopping at the gas station, according to consumer group Which?.

Stock up at the supermarket

Gas station brand fuel is often more expensive than supermarket fuel. As a general rule, petrol at the supermarket pump costs a few cents less per litre. Gasoline is also generally cheaper in cities than in rural areas.

Read more: UK petrol prices to top £1.60, diesel £1.70, RAC says

Many supermarkets also offer loyalty cards. Drivers can earn points each time they fill up, which can be redeemed later for cash back or discounts later. For motorists buying fuel from the same supermarket where they shop, joining a loyalty program could save money.

Avoid premium unleaded gasoline

While there’s no harm in using super unleaded, there’s generally no benefit either, unless you’re driving a high-performance car that specifically requires it.

Drive smoothly

Driving style can have an impact on fuel consumption. Try to accelerate smoothly while avoiding harsh throttle jolts or unnecessary brake slams.

Obey the speed limit

Driving at higher speeds results in higher fuel consumption. The Department for Transport (DfT) found that driving on the motorway at 80mph uses around 25% more fuel than driving at 70mph, while driving at 70mph instead of 60mph in a speed limit zone open will consume 9% more fuel and 5% more. than driving at 50 mph.

Clear startup and close windows to reduce drag

Driving a heavy car automatically increases fuel consumption because the engine has to run to get up to speed. Removing any heavy equipment, such as the roof and bike racks, will also improve efficiency and prevent drag.

Driving with the windows open also causes significant drag, so keeping them closed will prevent this.

Don’t overheat your engine

During the winter months, it is normally better to ride immediately after starting the engine rather than letting it run to warm up. Not only will this warm up the engine faster, but it will reduce engine wear and consume less fuel.

Use an ice scraper or de-icer spray if your car is covered in ice, which saves fuel by not relying on the car’s heater.

Turn off equipment

Air conditioning, defoggers, headlights, and rear windshield heaters are big power-hungry components in most modern cars. Try to use them only when necessary.

Use GPS

It pays to plan routes well before driving, to avoid wasting fuel by taking the wrong path. Using a phone or nat sat device is the best way to see the fastest route. Many of the newer navigation apps can also show drivers the most economical routes and avoid traffic jams that consume a lot of fuel.

Keep the car and tires well maintained

Drivers must keep their car in good condition. Tire pressure should also be monitored. Under-inflated tires and misaligned wheels will reduce a car’s fuel economy and can be expensive to fix.

Read more: UK set to ban Russian oil imports

Ensuring cars are serviced on time can help drivers avoid hefty bills later, and newly serviced cars with fresh oil and clean filters run more efficiently.

Need a new car? Consider going electric

While not an option for everyone, those looking for a new car can reduce their running costs by switching to an electric vehicle (EV). If you can charge from home and switch to a competitive rate, becoming an EV driver could save you money.

Watch: Why Are Gasoline Prices Rising?