Save fuel – drive more carefully as MP’s lobbied over fuel duty increase staging

forecourt prices January 2010

With the cost of petrol hovering around the £1.30 a litre mark (and there are 4.54 litres to a UK gallon), British motorists aren’t getting a lot for their money and there’s talk of a planned ‘staged’ increase in fuel duty soon – something the UK motor industry is calling on the Government to scrap amidst a torrid time for beleaguered garage forecourts.

And as it’s unlikely that fuel costs will drop, it’s up to us motorists to squeeze as much mileage out of those precious drops of petrol as possible.

There are a number of things you can do to improve your economy:

Avoid harsh breaking and harsh acceleration. Look ahead, read the road. Why zoom up to traffic lights you know you’ll have to stop at or junctions where you’ll have to give way?

Tempting as it may be to warm up your engine and car before starting a journey, remember even though you’re not covering any miles, you’re still using fuel. This where stop/start technology in modern cars really pays for itself, especially if you do a lot of town commuting.

Lighten the load. Don’t carry weight around with you that you don’t need. I’m not suggesting you ditch the spare wheel but any weight you don’t have to carry all adds to your fuel consumption.

Maintenance and care. A few simple checks is all it takes. Check your tyre pressures are correct, wheels aligned and fluid levels topped up. Change engine oil according to scheduled intervals and check air filters etc. Worn plugs increase fuel consumption through poor performance as do blocked air filters.

Ditch the roof rack. Roof racks effect the aerodynamics of a car causing more drag and increasing fuel consumption. If it’s not being used, then take it off. Do you really need to use it? Always use the interior space first.

And if you’re coming up for a change of car, then consider a more fuel efficient model. Smaller cars are lighter and use less fuel. How often do you make really long journeys that you think would require a larger vehicle?

Most journeys involve commuting to and from work. Think about other options like using public transport or car sharing with a colleague or even a friend going to the same locality. What’s a few minutes brisk walk compared to the fuel savings you’ll make?

You don’t have to give up the car completely – just try a few days / journeys a week by alternative means. You’ll be amazed how much you save and if it involves a little exercise, how much better you start feeling.

photo credit: martoneofmany

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