Petrol and diesel is so precious. It is literally what fuels our cars and any fleet manager will understand the frustration when it is needlessly wasted.

When it comes to basic fuel efficiency, there are some obvious fixes such as switching to a more frugal model, but what else can drivers do to minimise their fuel usage?

As this month marks ten years since The Fuel Card People set up shop, we’re running down ten handy hacks every driver can implement to use less fuel.

Drive less

A no-brainer to start with, but combining all your essential trips in one journey means you’ll be making fewer outings and therefore using less fuel.

Few people realise that you use more fuel in the first five miles or so than in the rest of the journey. That’s because it takes time for the engine to warm up, so if possible, try to cram in several tasks in one journey.

Avoid rush hour

Most workplaces operate flexible working hours now and these mean drivers can time their commute to dodge busy periods. Sitting in traffic means fuel being wasted. Even if you’re moving slower, your car is using a whole lot of fuel to simply get moving, so if your job facilitates an early start, it’s totally worth getting up an hour earlier for.

Drive at a smooth and steady pace

Research shows that the most fuel efficient speed for driving is between 50-55mph in the car’s highest gear. So if you have the time to be patient, then you can expect your fuel bills to be much more pleasing.

Easy on the accelerator

Being in a higher gear generally helps limit fuel usage but if you’re stubbornly keeping the car in a high gear and pushing the gas pedal too hard to compensate then you’re potentially using more fuel, not less. Self-defeating.  

Don’t break the speed limit

Higher speeds generally mean steeper fuel costs. While driving faster means your car’s engine won’t be active for as long, it will be worked harder during that time resulting in greater fuel usage.

Close the windows (and sunroof)

Aerodynamics are key to fuel efficiency and if you can hear the wind noise created by an open window, that’s essentially the sound of fuel being washed down the drain.

Instead of popping open a window, you’d be better off using the air vents, and firing up the air-con only when it gets especially hot – which brings us onto our next point nicely…

Turn off the air-con

Air-con is an absolute delight and resisting the urge to keep it on all-year round can be tough, but try it because you’ll save quite a bit of fuel. Reserve the air-con only for the heatwaves.

Remove the roof rack or ski box

This one is goes back to aerodynamics but the effects are much worse. A ski box adds unnecessary weight – even if it's empty – as well as a lot of drag, meaning your car uses more fuel. Modern roof rack and ski box systems can be removed quickly and easily, so it’s worth taking a few minutes to get them off and store in your garage when they’re not in use.

Lose that weight

Just like an empty ski box adds weight, carting around heavy items you don’t need means your car will guzzle more fuel than it needs to. Usually, the heavier items are the ones you’re least likely to need, such as golf clubs or a child’s buggy.

Pump up your tyres

Many people neglect their tyre pressures, but they’re key to boosting mpg. Be sure to pump your tyres to their optimum pressure but avoid the temptation to over-inflate. Doing that could compromise grip or even result in a burst tyre.

Of course, one way to reduce fuel costs is to register for a fuel card with The Fuelcard People.
Get started here.

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