How to improve fuel economy

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Daily life costs a small fortune. And it’s getting worse. Don’t think so? OK. Time for a quick recap. Remember how much it used to cost to buy a chocolate bar when you were young?

Or how much it was to ride the bus with your friends in your teens? How about how much it used to cost to go to the cinema as recently as 5-10 years ago? If we compare all of those prices to modern prices, the upwards curve is unmistakable.

Ever since the global financial crash of 2008, stretching your payday to make sure you can afford all of your bills and a few well-earned luxuries has been a balancing act that a tightrope circus performer carrying a baby elephant on their back would be proud of.

For most of us, fuel for our cars is a weekly necessity, so let’s look at ways to save just a little more on that everyday expense.

 

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Tyre type & tyre pressures

Do you know your tyre ratings? Basically, ratings run from A to G, and just like school grades, an “A rated” tyre is predictably top of the table when it comes to fuel economy.

The gulf between an A-rated tyre and G rated tyre is staggering (incidentally, it’s worth mentioning that poor tyres lead to many accidents, and help is at hand if you’ve been in an accident which wasn’t your fault), with an average fuel economy difference of 7.5% – which means it’s certainly worth investing in a new set of tyres if you’re serious about saving money in the long run. 

Tyre pressures play an essential role, too. Check your car’s handbook or go online for the correct tyre pressures for your make and model (many cars often have a panel of such information visible somewhere on the car boot frame or driver’s door frame – if you’ve noticed this panel before but never stopped to check what it is, check now to find your tyre pressures and be aware that front tyre pressures could differ from rear tyre pressures).

Failure to inflate your tyres to the recommended pressures could result in a negative fuel economy (around -2.5% on average).

 

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Look ahead and plan a smoother acceleration/deceleration

The rule here is simple: more fuel is required to get the car up to speed than is required to keep the car going at a set speed. This means that by looking ahead to the speed of the traffic in front of you.

You can lift your foot off the pedal and slow your car down gradually over many tens of metres, without having to use the brake and consequently step on accelerator to speed back up again from a much lower speed.

Try to use the forward momentum of the car as much as possible to reduce the amount of time spent with your foot on the accelerator. 

 

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Empty your boot

This is a classic mistake. Remove any bike racks, roof boxes, and unneeded bits and bobs that were thrown into the car boot and forgotten about weeks ago. The weight of your car has a significant impact on fuel economy.

 

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