Driving is becoming more expensive, with prices regularly rising at the fuel pumps. With decades of experience in the motor insurance industry, Liberty Insurance know a thing or two about trying to keep car costs down.
Every car, driver and driving situation is different, but they’ve put together five small changes you could make to try to save a little on fuel costs this year.
Stick to the Speed Limit
This is good advice generally, of course, as staying at or below the speed limit makes for safer driving. It also helps to ensure good fuel efficiency too, when combined with careful movement through a car’s gears. The RAC in the UK says that “the biggest secret to achieving high mpg is driving in the highest possible gear for your vehicle while keeping within the speed limit.” This makes sense, as pushing a car to work harder will naturally consume more energy.
They advise that drivers “change up through the gears as quickly as you can with the lowest revs possible, probably at around 2000rpm. Remember: the faster an engine spins, the more fuel it uses”. Of course, this option is for manual cars: the situation is a little more complicated for automatic versions, but nowadays, most modern cars have advanced technology that will move through the gears as efficiently (if not more) than a human.
Put Away the Roof Rack
Roof racks, luggage boxes and bicycle bars are great additions to your car when you’re going away for the weekend or on a family holiday, but not so much for the rest of the year. Their weight and size can increase drag, which pushes up your fuel costs, especially at higher speeds. It’s a good idea to take them off your car for day-to-day driving, only putting them back on for special trips.
In a similar vein, if you find yourself regularly carrying extra weight in the boot or back seat, it could pay to schedule a seasonal clear-out so you can lighten your car’s load. These steps take time, of course, and rely on sufficient garage or closet space for storage, but if possible, they will help to save over the long term.
It’s no secret that braking and acceleration increases fuel use, but with many of us living in towns and cities, this style of driving is an unfortunate fact of urban life. The UK’s Energy Saving Trust recommends that we avoid driving interruptions where possible, by maintaining a greater distance from the vehicle in front so that we can adapt our speed without necessarily using the brakes. This is also a safer way to interact with other vehicles, as it gives more time to react in the event of a danger occuring.
When slowing down in a non-emergency situation, the Trust advises drivers to “lift off the accelerator as early as possible but remain in gear.” Cruise control can help here, but only on reasonably flat surfaces – where the road undulates regularly, staying in cruise mode could actually cost you more fuel. In some cases, depending on your car, it might be possible to allow the car to coast downhill, but only if you can ensure you maintain complete control of the vehicle at all times.
Pack a Jumper – or Lower a Window
Of course, it’s not always feasible, but if you’re serious about saving money on fuel, it might be an idea to limit your use of air conditioning or cabin heating functions. Both use engine power and increase fuel consumption, so cracking a window on hot days or wearing extra layers during bad weather might be better options.
Safety should always come first – never risk you or your passengers getting too hot or too cold inside your car’s cabin. Bear in mind too, that lowering a window might contribute to the above-mentioned drag, especially at high speeds.
Arrange a Trip to the Mechanic
One of the most important factors in limiting fuel costs is maintenance. As the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) points out, petrol and diesel cars need to be checked regularly for good engine lubrication, wheel alignment and well-adjusted brakes, as well as proper tyre pressure and safe tyre condition. “Tyres that are 10% below recommended pressure increase fuel consumption by around 2%,” they say, demonstrating that booking in for an annual service makes sense for lots of reasons.
Shop around for a garage or mechanic that can offer a qualified service at a good price – there are plenty of options available, and it’s worth booking in early, to get ahead of any potential problems that might emerge.
Whether you fill up at the diesel or petrol pump, Liberty Insurance is here for you, offering support, advice and protection you can trust. If you’re thinking about trying to reduce your motoring insurance costs, get in touch to find a car insurance quote.
This article has been written and provided by Liberty Insurance. #ad