Even though fuel prices are quite low globally following the very cheap crude oil prices earlier this year, the fuel at the pump is still quite expensive. The main reason here are all the taxes.
According to PetrolPrices.com, the cost of crude oil accounts for about 20p out of a £1 litre of fuel. The rest is fuel duty and VAT. The retailer gets roughly 5p from £1.
First good option to have more control on your fuel costs is to actually own a car that has a good fuel economy. It is a very big difference if your car averages 47 mpg or just 17 mpg. The difference is almost 3 times!
Changing a car is not always an option and often getting a new car with better fuel economy can mean a significant investment, which is hard to make up to if you are not driving too much.
Here are 6 simple fuel saving tips that can make a pretty big difference.
- Tailgating safely
There is a good reason why lorries tailgate each other, which obviously is quite annoying if you want to pass them. The reason is simple, According to research published by the University of Aachen, Germany, lorries can save around 17 per cent in fuel by tailgating each other. Not bad at all. And this does not just apply to lorries. Tailgating, or drafting, is the technique of driving very closely behind a big lorri in order to reduce the air resistance , which means better fuel economy. According to know a famous Mythbusters episode, “Big rigs: Drafting for money”, it is possible to save up to 40% of fuel when driving behind a semi truck at 55 mph (89 km/h). Remember, safety first. In traffic keep a good distance and be aware of all the changes.
- Every penny matters
We all have heard the idiom ‘a penny saved is a penny earned’ from Benjamin Franklin’s book, Poor Richard’s Almanack. The question is how do you pay for fuel? A good way to save money every time you fill up the tank is to use fuel cards. They are not just convenient way to pay for fuel, but also offer different benefits. For a good overview on how to save money on fuel expenses, head over to iCompario. The savings are not tied to your actual fuel consumption, but go much further from time saving doing the paperwork to time on refuelling.
- Manage the weight
No, this is not about getting trim by the summer. You can reduce fuel consumption of your car by simply removing excess weight. This does not mean swapping body panels to expensive lightweight carbon fibre pieces.
Very often we drive around with things in the car that we don’t need. Camping gear, bottles.. Etc. All this matters in the end.
- Reduce drag
Windows down on higher speeds create a lot of drag. So do bikes on the roof. Remove bikes and bike racks when you know you don’t need them for a while. With windows down on warm days the alternative is to use air conditioning, which also uses fuel, but there is a balance. With windows down there is more drag and hence more fuel is used. The tipping point here is speed. If you go under 30 mph, the windows down is a good option and going over, turn on the air conditioning.
- Go easy on the accelerator
The driving style and speed matters. Keeping your driving smooth, less sharp accelerations and quick stops is a good start. When you get to a red traffic light do you hit the brakes at a last minute or ease of the accelerator earlier matters a lot. Don’t do it too early in heavy traffic obviously. Also it is recommended to use the highest safe gear when driving manual.
- Plan ahead
Even in city traffic the savings can be significant, when you are not driving during the rush hour. The drive is smoother. Also when planning a longer trip, see if you can stay more on roads, where you have less intersections and urban traffic, to keep the drive speed smoother.