The price you pay at the petrol pump can leave you feeling a lot lighter in your wallet. No matter what size car you drive or what fuel type you use, it always seems that the price counter goes up a lot faster than the litre counter. So saving money on petrol is something we all want to do.
Choosing a car with a very good MPG – miles per gallon - is one of the better ways to save money on fuel. But even if that wasn’t a consideration when you purchased a car, there are ways to make the fuel in your car power you further. Here are our tips for getting more miles per gallon from your car.
One of the things that burns fuel the quickest is being really heavy on the accelerator and brake pedals. It’s obvious that the harder you put your foot down, the more the engine works to get your car up to speed. While you may get a thrill from the sudden acceleration, you will be spending a lot more on petrol to power your thrill-seeking. Accelerating steadily allows the engine to be more efficient in generating the power you need.
Braking heavily can also burn fuel, simply because you were going too fast for the route you are taking and so wasting that energy created by the engine by braking so sharply. Decelerating smoothly means you are giving yourself and the car engine’s time to come to a halt.
Ensuring your tyres are at the right inflation and have the correct tread depth will have a big impact on your MPG.
Underinflated tyres mean your car has to work harder to accelerate and brake, as they won’t provide the same level of grip as a correctly inflated tyre. Most petrol stations have free or cheap air, so you should look at checking and inflating your tyres every few months at least.
Tyres with poor tread have the same issue, as you’ll lose grip on the road and so your car has to work harder to counter. You can check your tyres yourself with a 20p coin. Simply insert it in the groove between tyre tread and see if you can see the border of the coin. If you can, then the tread properly needs to be checked. Have a look at local garages. Many will do a free tyre check.
We don’t mean you need to head to the gym. Instead, we are talking about your car. Every excess item in your car will add to the amount of fuel that is burned to get the car moving, so it’s a good idea to reduce any excess unneeded weight. Does your car have a roof rack that you are using once every few months? Losing the weight of the rack will mean you burn less fuel. (It also helps make your car more aerodynamic and reduce the amount of drag caused by the rack, meaning you’ll save more fuel that way). Bike racks are another thing that can be lost with big benefits.
Have a look in the boot of your car and see what else you are taking with you that’s not needed. Every little helps. If you’re really keen, you could remove excess seats that aren’t being used, but that might be a hassle too much for most drivers!
Another way we all burn petrol is by driving around aimlessly looking for parking, or by getting caught in traffic jams and roadworks that can easily be avoided. Having a look at your journey in advance can quickly alert you to any major traffic hotspots, which you can either redirect around or wait until the peak period passes. Have a look for parking spots near your destination too and see if you can pre-book. Driving around searching for a space is a needless waste of fuel, especially in the modern age where you can find and book parking with the touch of an app.
Your engine will burn a lot of excess fuel if it has not been serviced recently. Any dirt or grime in the engine will affect efficiency, and an oil change can have a big impact on how well it works.
A service from a mechanic you trust will look at all sorts of little things that can help make the engine operate a little more smoothly. So a regular service is a good way to improve your MPG.
A question we often hear is whether we should choose the premium unleaded at the pump over the standard. While it is slightly more expensive, a recent study revealed that you can get up to 14% more MPG by using the premium unleaded option, countering out the increased price. So if you are taking the other steps listed here to increase your MPG, then it might be worth switching to premium.