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Don’t panic! Save fuel

Whether you are in panic mode, gloating over a full tank, or not worrying too much until you hit the red, running out of fuel is no laughing matter. Trying to save fuel will delay the seemingly inevitable queues at the garage but, perhaps more importantly, it can save the environment and save you some serious money – especially with prices rising as they are. Here are some simple steps that can help you to reduce your fuel consumption without making huge changes.

  1. Deploy cruise control. Fluctuations in speed use much more fuel than driving at a steady pace. If you have cruise control, using it can help your fuel go much further as it limits erratic accelerating and braking. Set it at just below the speed limit and watch your fuel efficiency rise (cruise control also stops you from being tempted to break the limit). If you don’t have CC, try to drive like you do! Take it steady, don’t floor the accelerator and try to limit braking. Challenge yourself to use your brakes as little as possible (safely, of course).
  2. Don’t idle. Oh, the irony of people sitting in fuel queues with their engines on! It is hard to know how long you will be stationary but if you suspect that you are going to be at a standstill for more than 8-10 seconds, it is worth switching off the engine. Be aware that if you know you have an old or faulty battery, switching off and on again will drain it more quickly; head to your local garage to get your battery checked if you are in doubt (the only thing worse than sitting in a queue for fuel is breaking down in one!).
  3. Park wise. When it comes to parking, beggars can’t always be choosers, but if you can choose where to park and it saves you having to manoeuvre in or out, you could save time and fuel, too. Park facing downhill instead of up, face outwards where you can, and choose spaces closer to the entrance and exit to avoid extra driving when you arrive and leave.
  4. Maintain your vehicle. Regular servicing, oil changes and fully pumped, good condition tyres to reduce drag can all play their part in improving your vehicle’s efficiency.
  5. Ditch the drag. From top boxes to heavily laden boots, excess baggage means excess fuel consumption. Take top boxes off when they are not being used and, if you carry everything but the kitchen sink in your boot just in case you need it one day, the chances are you won’t – so treat your car to a clear out, ditch some weight and notice the fuel efficiency creep up.

As always, drive carefully and responsibly. If you notice that your fuel consumption is significantly more than usual, check in with your local mechanic to see if there are maintenance issues that need to be addressed. For more advice and guidance, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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