Electric cars are not only on the horizon, they are starting to populate our driveways and with them are gone the days of fretting about how expensive fuel is. Chances are the future is electric, but until then we still have many years of feeding our cars expensive fuel ahead of us. Here are some tips on how to save on the precious liquid. These tips are even more valid if you are managing a fleet of vehicles.
1. Reduce the weight of your vehicle
Fuel consumption increases by 1% for every 100 pounds of extra weight. So you have two ways of reducing your fuel costs at your disposal. First, downsize from a large car or 4WD to a small car if you are only driving around town. You can always rent a larger cars for the few trips you want to make that require one. This way the overwhelming majority of your fuel expenses will be linked to a small car and result in vast savings. Second, try and not to drive around with unnecessary items in your car and boot such as spares and rubbish. Do you really need two spares when you’re only driving to and from school? Also, have you thought of running your fuel tank half full or less unless you’re on a long journey? This will significantly lower the weight or your car and thus your fuel consumption.
2. Stay aerodynamic
Wind resistance increases fuel consumption. As such, try and keep windows closed at high speeds and remove roof racks and boxes when not in use. For example, removing a roof-top cargo box can save a staggering 20% on fuel over a year.
3. Get your car serviced regularly
Although you might think your car is running smoothly, small issues going undiscovered can damage your fuel efficiency considerably. To avoid this, make sure you get your car serviced regularly, once annually is a good rate to ensure your fuel efficiency stays at its maximum and the saving you make on fuel costs as a result will be higher than your maintenance expenses.
4. Keep your tyres inflated
For every 1% decrease in tyre pressure, fuel consumption increases by 0.3%. This means that as little as 2 to 3 PSI of under-inflation could raise your fuel costs by up to 3%. To avoid this, check your tyres regularly to ensure they’re inflated to the right pressure, especially before a long journey or one on a motorway. Flat tyres can actually be dangerous as well as inefficient. With a properly inflated tyre you get the benefit of better handling, less wear on your tyres and cost savings.
5. Drive efficiently
Fuel efficiency actually drops off considerably when you reach 90 km/h. For example, driving at 110 km/h means your vehicle is 25% less efficient than at 90 km/h. In order to save on fuel costs, try and stay under 90 km/h whenever possible. On smaller roads, slowing down from 90 to 80 km/h could save you another 10%. Aside from speed, aggressive, stop-start driving is a guaranteed way to waste fuel. Try your best to maintain a constant speed – being gentle on both acceleration and braking.
6. Chase the cheapest fuel nearby
Some mobile apps such as petrolprices.com list fuel prices in the service stations around you, some GPS devices also offer that option. It is the best way to make sure you always buy your fuel at the cheapest possible price. Some supermarkets also often run petrol promotions offering discounts of 5p-10p off each litre of fuel if you spend a certain amount (for example £30) shopping in-store. Make sure you are aware of these and compare different supermarket offers to get the best deal.
7. Use Fuel Cards
By using fuel cards such as the ones provided by iCompario, you can get price discounts and better control your usage. Moreover, if you are managing a fleet of vehicles, you can control what trips your drivers can use their card for and, by closing fuel cars based on service station brands, you can ensure they only refuel at the cheapest points. By linking a fuel card to a specific vehicle, you can relax in the knowledge that all expenses are tracked and the risk of fraud is virtually inexistent.