By: Jasmine Birtles, MoneyMagpie.com
As the price of petrol inexorably rises, we’re all looking for ways to cut costs on the road.
Here are ten top ways from the clever people at MoneyMagpie.com that you can save money driving.
- Switch insurers
When it comes to any sort of insurance, but particularly car insurance, loyalty really doesn’t pay. If you stick, unquestioningly, with the same insurers, they will just up your premium each year and rub their hands as you dutifully pay.
So as soon as you get to a few weeks before the new policy needs to start see which company will offer a better rate through a comparison site. See how you can save hundreds by switching at this article.
Even if you can’t be bothered switching, at least phone up your current insurer and demand a better rate. They should be able to knock off quite a bit there and then.
- Cut the load
Most of us in the UK carry unnecessary junk in our boot, and it’s costing us money. Classic boot junk includes sports equipment, old walking boots and tools. Many people also consider it a good place to store rubbish!
So whatever you’re keeping in your boot, take it out! The heavier your car is, the more petrol it uses, so if you can lighten the load your money will last much longer.
- Care for the engine
Your car’s engine is a complex, living machine. Keep it running smoothly and healthily. It runs more efficiently when it’s properly lubricated, so keep it topped up with oil, checking it before big journeys and keeping extra in the garage just in case.
Also, taking your car for a service at manufacturer-recommended intervals will keep all the parts of the car are running at their optimal level.
- Reduce the drag
Are you driving around with the roof box on the top of your car? This is creating drag and costing you money so remove it when it’s not in use.
Oddly enough, keeping your windows open when you’re driving also increases fuel consumption, so watch that, particularly at high speeds. Items that you add, such as bike racks, roof racks, or England flags (!) will impact on the ergonomics of the vehicle.
- Keep tyres pumped up
When your tyres aren’t at the recommended pressure, the rolling resistance increases the surface area of the tyre on the road, which makes your car less fuel efficient.
Make sure that your tyres are at the PSI indicated in your owner’s manual. It’s standard practice to check your tyre pressure before any long journey and it’s a good idea to check them in between times when you go to fill up with fuel.
- Drive as smoothly as possible
Driving smoothly not only means that both you and your passengers will enjoy a more comfortable ride, it also means you’re driving more economically.
It may sound boring but you will definitely get more miles per litre with smoother and slightly slower driving – up to a third more miles in fact. If you assume you drive 10,000 miles a year and you pay around £1.10 per litre for petrol (lucky you if you can get it for that!) and get 40 miles to the gallon, this would cost £1,250. Aggressive drivers doing 30 miles per gallon would pay an extra £416.
It’s all about slower, smoother acceleration, gently applying pressure, gradually building up speed while accelerating and gradually easing off when slowing down.
A good rule of thumb for driving economically is to stick to the speed limit. Driving much faster means you’re going to have to slow down and speed up a lot more.
- Find the cheapest petrol
Obviously it’s helpful to check Petrolprices.com for the cheapest fuel prices where you are. Also, though, the ‘Petrol Prices Pro’ app, which costs £2.99 per year, is updated every weekday to give you the most up-to-date fuel prices from over 11,000 petrol stations across the UK, including the supermarkets and smaller stations.
- Share the ride, share the cost
Get into lift-sharing to split the cost of running your car.
Sites like Blablacar are useful for people who do the same trips regularly. Maybe you drive to and from work. With Blablacar you can find others who are doing the same and share the cost of the journey with them.
There’s also Liftshare and National Car Share to check out.
- Make a game of lowering your Miles per Gallon (MPG)
Most modern cars are fitted with MPG meters, which means you can constantly keep an eye on how efficiently you are driving.
Make sure you know what the manufacturer of your car states as the combined MPG capabilities of your car. Although these are usually, shall we say, ‘optimistic’, they can still give you a target to try and reach. Make a game out of it. See just how economical you can be in your driving. How close to the ‘hoped-for’ MPG can you get?
- Don’t keep the engine revving.
If you don’t need it on, turn it off. If you’re in a static jam, or you’re at a level crossing and your car doesn’t automatically switch off, do it yourself.
If rolling along isn’t an option, there’s no point wasting fuel.
Jasmine Birtles is founder of the money-saving and money-making website MoneyMagpie.com. Get a free money-saving eBook and sign up to the free weekly newsletter here.