Save money on your daily drive

Whilst fuel prices are currently at a low, we’ve found ways to save even more. Next time you’re out with the kids and their friends, the dog, uncle Tom Cobley and all, have a go at adopting some of these small changes and see how it all adds up.

Save on fuel consumption

The two biggest savings, of up to 10% each in fuel efficiency, (totalling £268 over the year) are from your air conditioning and roof rack, according to moneysavingexpert.com. At low speeds it makes sense to drive like Thelma and Louise, hair streaming in the breeze-the dog might enjoy it too. But at higher speeds, the drag caused by having the windows down actually decreases fuel efficiency. So save your air con for sticky motorway trips.

Ditching the roof rack when it’s not needed helps with the aerodynamics. So it makes sense to travel without it if you can. Losing all other superfluous weight in the car can save you a further 2% or £27, say the same team. We’re not talking about refusing lifts to the men of the family, or jettisoning the other spare tyre. But we do think it’s worth chucking everything out of the boot that you don’t normally need.

Add a further saving of 1% (£13.50) by filling up in half-tanks only. When it’s full it’s heavier, causing the car to burn more fuel.

Keeping up with specified maintenance is going to help save you money too. Keeping the tyres inflated at the recommended levels can improve fuel efficiency by up to 3% or £40. It’s also safer and you will save on costly tyre damage.

When buying a new car always consider fuel economy and CO2 emissions. Perrys has lots of technical information to help with this and great models to choose from. Take a look, for example, at Mazda, and Ford’s EcoBoost engine cars such as the Fiesta ST that does a cool 65.7mpg. Whilst you’re there have a look at our tips on greener driving.

Efficient driving technique

The RAC estimates that you can save more by driving differently – up to 30% on fuel efficiency alone. Just by driving more smoothly you can go further and faster on the same tank of fuel.

The first thing is to avoid idling. It’s a very easy habit to have slipped into whilst waiting for the kids to gather their stuff / dawdle out of Tai Kwondo / watch their sequins dry. When the engine’s idling it’s doing, wait for it, zero miles per gallon. So turn off instead.

When slowing to a halt however, for example as you join a traffic jam, decelerate naturally rather than travelling at normal speed then turning off. Keeping the car moving is more efficient. When you turn on it takes a lot of energy to move that first metre. Worth a try.

Once you’ve got out of the scout hut parking and the traffic jam and you’re on the road, work at avoiding rapid acceleration and deceleration. This is very heavy on fuel consumption and probably only means you have to brake more often anyway. Experts recommend accelerating gradually without over revving. Keep an eye on the rev counter and aim to stay under 3000 revs.

And change up a gear a bit sooner than you might normally. The heavier you are on the gas, the more you spend.

Thinking about road position helps to avoid over accelerating and hard braking. You may be a dab hand at this but look up and further ahead if not so you can position yourself sooner and more smoothly. Aim for careful planning, blending and flowing with other traffic to save money.

Speed bumps can cause a lot of braking but if you aim to drive on a speed bumped road at the same speed throughout, that would be more efficient. If you’ve got a low car and high bumps this could be quite a low speed, but otherwise aiming for around 15mph should do the trick.

It’s useful to know some rule of thumb numbers for high speeds too. Driving at 70mph uses up to 15% more fuel than 50mph and up to 9% more than driving at 60mph. Most cars now have cruise control that’s easy to use and keeps your speed even effortlessly. Note though, that even using cruise control at 80mph uses up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph.

What would 30% difference in fuel efficiency mean for you and your family, apart from the obvious improvement in safety some of these habits would bring? Based on the average price of petrol of £103.98p/litre for March 2016 and 4.5 litres to a gallon, if you drive 10,000 miles a year at 35 mpg your fuel’s costing £1,336. A reduction of 30% would save you £401 – the price of a nice weekend away.

Why not pop in and see how the friendly team at Perrys can help with your economy drive? Click here to locate your nearest dealership and browse our range of new cars.