How to improve fuel efficiency in your car How to improve fuel efficiency in your car

In the current supply crisis, finding ways of making your fuel go further will mean fewer fill-ups and cheaper fuel bills.

There are a few simple changes that every driver can make to cut fuel consumption.

1. Check your tyres

Under inflated tyres cause more drag, meaning your engine will have to work harder, using more fuel. Tyre experts estimate under-inflated tyres increase fuel use by around 3%.

How do you know the correct tyre pressure? Check your owner’s handbook. Get into the habit of checking your tyres monthly and remember the pressure needs to be different if the car is fully loaded.

2. Lighten the load

Carrying unnecessary weight around in your vehicle makes a small difference to your fuel consumption. While every little bit helps, this recommendation applies more to tradespeople who are likely to drive heavy tools and equipment around that they don’t use every day.

3. Streamline

Leaving items like a roof box, roof bars, or bike rack on your car will waste fuel. You could save an estimated 10 to 20 per cent on fuel by improving your car’s aerodynamics and reducing drag and weight.

4. Turn off the air con

Using air conditioning increases fuel consumption by up to 10 per cent. It’s particularly noticeable on short journeys where it has to work harder to cool the car initially, and at lower speeds. If you’re making a short trip, or are in stop-and-go traffic, opening a window is a more efficient way to cool down.

At higher speeds, the drag caused by an open window is worse for economy than running the air con. So, once you reach 55mph, using air con is more efficient.

In the UK, you are more likely to use the heater than air con. While your car heater does use fuel to operate, it recycles heat which is already being used to power the car, so the extra fuel used by heaters isn’t an excessive amount.

5. Watch your speed and drive smoothly

Using cruise control on the motorway can help drivers maintain a constant speed; vehicles use the most energy when accelerating.

Accelerate and brake gently and use your gears correctly. Anticipating the road and traffic ahead can improve fuel economy by 15%–30% at motorway speeds and 10%–40% in stop-and-go traffic.

6. Join a cashback or loyalty scheme

It isn’t easy to shop around for fuel in the current fuel crisis. However, using supermarket loyalty cards, and credit cards which offer cashback, can be a clever move. While they won’t save you money on fuel directly, they give you money back towards your grocery shopping, or points to use on other purchases — saving you money in the long run.