Ways To Save Money On Fuel Costs

Written by PayPlan on 27 May 2008

Fuel Prices Rise Again

With oil prices soaring above $130 a barrel and the price of petrol rising at an increasingly astronomical rate, it may seem like there is little respite for motorists with the government’s proposed fuel duty increase of 2p per litre still on the cards – many motorists are struggling to put fuel in their vehicles already, as well as pay their priority bills and unsecured debts – however, there are several ways to save money on fuel costs.

Get the Cheapest Fuel at the Pump

The first of the many ways to save money on fuel costs is the most obvious, and that is to ensure that you’re buying the cheapest fuel (petrol or diesel) from the filling-station in the first place – visit www.petrolprices.com to find the cheapest petrol where you live.

Driving Savings on Fuel

Secondly, your driving technique and general attitude to driving can have a significant bearing on the cost of your monthly fuel bill. Here are 10 ways to save money on fuel costs (the Energy Saving Trust suggest as much as £120 per year can be saved on the cost of fuel), helping you beat the fuel price increases whilst at the same time doing your bit to save the environment:

10 Ways to Save Money on Fuel Costs

1. Watch the Revs

Keep a watchful eye on your rev counter – change up a gear before you reach 2,500rpm for petrol powered cars and before 2,000rpm for diesel powered vehicles.

2. Quick, Slow, Quick Quick, Slow

Avoiding sudden bursts of acceleration and irratic heavy braking is not only one of the ways to save money on fuel costs, but it also reduces the likelihood of having a serious road traffic accident. The rule is to always look ahead and anticipate the road conditions, allowing you to drive smoothly, accelerate gradually and use the engine to slow down where appropriate.

3. How Cool Are You?

Especially during the summer months, it’s tempting to stay cool in your car by reaching for a switch and turning on the air conditioning. However, air conditioning uses a significant amount of fuel. Ask yourself, do I really need to turn the air conditioning unit on? Surely it’s more ‘cool’ to save money on fuel?

4. Go Slow!

Driving at the most efficient speeds can make an enormous difference to the amount of fuel that your vehicle will consume and it’s one of the easiest ways to save money on fuel costs. Depending on the make and model of car that you own, speeds between 45 – 55 mph are generally considered to be the most efficient for your vehicle’s fuel consumption. Of course, this shouldn’t mean that you drive more slowly when it’s not appropriate or safe (eg on motorways). Driving at speeds faster than 55 mph will increase you cars fuel consumption significantly.

5. Get Your Coat

Never turn the engine on and leave the car running to warm the car’s interior whilst you go back indoors to enjoy a cup of tea. Leaving your car to ‘idle’ in this way not only wastes valuable fuel, but also causes rapid wear and tear to your vehicle’s engine. Wear more clothes – drink less tea!

6. Rocket Science

Assuming that you understand the basic physics behind the design and shape of a space rocket, then you’ll understand that causing unnecessary drag on a moving object will require a greater force for it to move in a particular direction, and consequently, more fuel – this is the reason why we don’t see space rockets fitted with bike-racks, roof-racks or roof-boxes. Therefore, if you’re not using such accessories, remove them from your vehicle to reduce weight and drag, increase fuel efficiency and save you money.

7. Get Some Exercise!

When your car’s engine is cold, it burns up to twice the amount of fuel as a warm engine does. Consequently, if you take the easy option for short journeys by jumping straight into your car, rather than walking, cycling or using public transport, you will not only damage your bank account further by using unnecessary fuel, but you will miss a simple opportunity to contribute to reducing your carbon footprint on the environment, as well as getting a little exercise!

8. Use the Local Media

Always plan your journeys before setting off. Check your local newspapers, local radio stations or use the Internet to find out about any serious congestion, road works or road traffic accidents. At the risk of stating the obvious, carrying a map with you in your car at all times will prevent you from the extra miles that are covered in the unlikely event that you should get lost – and, if you’re lucky enough to have one, don’t rely completely on your satellite navigation system to get you to where you want to be via the most appropriate route either.

9. Inflation

Reduced tyre pressure can cause your fuel consumption to increase by as much as an estimated 5%. Again, this is one of the simplest ways to save money on fuel costs – check your tyres weekly and keep them inflated to the manufacturer’s specifications.

10. Still Not Moving?

At traffic jams, road-works and any occasion when you and your vehicle are stationary for longer than 2-3 minutes, save fuel by simply turning the engine off at the ignition.

Free Budgeting and Debt Advice

If you’re struggling with the recent petrol price increases and you’re unable to pay your monthly bills as a result, Payplan can offer free debt advice by phone on 0800 280 2816 or online using their quick contact form for immediate money advice

Filed under Archive

This article was checked and deemed to be correct as at the above publication date, but please be aware that some things may have changed between then and now. So please don't rely on any of this information as a statement of fact, especially if the article was published some time ago.

5 thoughts on “Ways To Save Money On Fuel Costs”

  • economical car man

    July 31, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    All sound pieces of advice, but these apply to your current car. If it’s time to change your car, take a good look at Co2 emmisions and mpg. Miles per gallon is an obvious way to keep your cash in your pocket and Co2 emmisions now govern how much you pay each year in road tax and if you can find a car that emits under 100g/km (VW BlueMotion or Seat Ibiza Ecomotive) you’re exempt from road tax altogether.

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  • Car Tyres

    August 26, 2008 at 9:57 am

    The advice about keeping car tyres at their correct pressure to improve fuel consumption is true. I’ve been told it can save as much as 10% on your monthly fuel bill.

    As a car tyre dealer we recommend using nitrogen to fill your your car tyres. Tyres filled with Nitrogen will maintain their correct pressure for longer, because Nitrogen doesn’t leak through the tyre’s structure. And it is not expensive to do.

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  • Paul

    August 26, 2008 at 10:10 am

    There clearly seem to be some technical benefits to using Nitrogen to fill your car tyres – however the AA don’t feel that the overall pros and cons add up to a real benefit to car users:

    They say:

    “Overall, while accepting the possibility of purified nitrogen being of benefit in certain applications, we don’t think that the cost and possible inconvenience are justified for normal passenger car use.”


    Thanks for your input


    Reply Report comment

  • James

    August 27, 2008 at 7:36 am

    There are other benefits to nitrogen filled car tyres that will save you money.

    Specialist car tyre dealer Merityre claim that filling your tyres with nitrogen will provide:

    “Longer tread life, up to 25% increase, and no corrosion to the inside of the wheel”

    This will increase the lifespan of your car tyres and save money as they don’t need to replaced so often.

    Anyway Paul enough of that as I’m sure you don’t want your article to turn into a debate about nitrogen filled car tyres! Thanks for the great advice about how to save money on fuel costs.

    Reply Report comment

  • Rob

    September 28, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Tips On Making Your Car More Fuel Efficient

    With gas prices sky high most individuals who drive are interested in ways they can make their car more fuel efficient and save as much money as possible. While there are no fuel saving tips that will keep your car full of gas without filling up, there are some tips that really can help you save money on fuel over the long run. All of these tips focus on making your car more fuel efficient.

    Fuel Efficiency Tip #1 Drive When You Crank Up This might seem obvious, but as soon as you crank up your car you should drive off. However, many people crank up and leave the car idling for a while. Instead of this, when you crank up drive off and only keep your car running when it is absolutely necessary.

    Fuel Efficiency Tip #2 Don’t Ride the Break Many drivers hit the break more often than is necessary. Additionally there are quite a few drivers that slow down for a braking car when they could easily switch lanes. Not riding the break can increase your fuel efficiency by up to 30%, so this is a great tip you should follow.

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