Car money saving tips - 8 tips to reduce your fuel consumption

When fuel prices fluctuate it can often leave motorists feeling concerned about the cost of filling up their vehicle, and rightly so. But the fluctuation of prices needn’t be daunting. Throughout history, the cost of fuel has regularly fluctuated and then stabilised again.

For example, some people may remember Autumn 2000, when fuel shortages brought the UK to a virtual standstill. Protests over a steep rise in prices led to the pumps running dry on many filling station forecourts. This demonstrates how sensitive the industry can be and that fuel price fluctuation is something that we can confidently manage if we are proactive.

What is meant by fuel consumption?

Fuel consumption is the rate at which an engine uses fuel. In the UK we measure a car’s fuel economy in miles per gallon (MPG). If your car does 50MPG, it will cover 50 miles on one gallon of fuel. The higher the MPG, the more economical the car and the less you’ll spend on fuel. Many motorists look to reduce their fuel consumption so they spend less.

How do I work out my fuel consumption?

It is handy to know the fuel consumption of your current vehicle, or a vehicle you are about to buy, so you can work out whether you can afford the fuel costs. For example, if you have a long commute distance, you might think twice before purchasing a vehicle that does 20MPG (miles per gallon). 20MPG is generally considered low. In this instance, a vehicle with a higher MPG may be more economical.

WhatCar have produced a handy calculator where you simply enter your car make and model and the information is provided. Work out your fuel consumption here.

Alternatively, your average mile per gallon should be displayed on your car's dashboard. This is usually displayed near the part that tells you how much fuel you have left. The instructions on how to find this should be in your manufacturer's manual.

How do I reduce my fuel consumption?

As motoring experts, we are always looking for ways to save our customers money. One way this can be easily achieved is by offering advice on how to save money whilst driving. Here are our 10 tips to do just that:

Reduce the drag on your car

Think about how streamlined your car is, could you make it any more so? If you have a roof box on your car, consider taking it off while you’re not using it. When it’s on your car it will only increase the amount of wind resistance, and this will get worse the faster you go. Open windows have a similar effect, holding your car back and therefore burning through more fuel to compensate for it. If you are going on a long journey it would be wise to not have the windows down the whole way.

Check your tyre pressure regularly

Your car will perform to its best ability when the tyres are inflated to the perfect pressure. If your tyres aren’t inflated enough, they can cause drag and require more work from the engine to keep the car going.

Reduce the weight of your car

Any added weight to your car can put more strain on the engine for it to meet your demands and this of course will affect your fuel consumption. If you have things like car seats or prams in your car it’s best to take them out until you need them. It’ll give your car less of a load to carry and make your fuel go further.

Plan your journey around the traffic

It’s no secret that crawling along in a line of traffic is going to cause your fuel to seep away before you’ve got very far. Plan to set off either before or just after the rush hour traffic so you can get straight to your destination without hanging around wasting your fuel in the queues.

Do everything in one go

When you have a few errands to run it’s tempting to spread them out over the week – this isn’t good for your fuel consumption though. It’s best to get everything done in one go while your engine is already warmed up - warming the engine from cold multiple times will use significantly more energy than doing one longer trip.

Accelerate gently

Does driving slowly reduce fuel consumption? Driving at a high speed is the most obvious drain on your fuel so it’s always a good idea to minimise the effect this will have by being gentle when you set off. Although it’s only a small thing, resisting the urge to speed away will have a big impact on how fast your fuel drains. You must always aim to stay under the speed limit.

Don’t leave the engine idling

Up to 1 gallon of fuel is burned through per hour when you let the engine idle, so when you’re stationary there’s no point in letting the engine run through your fuel. Turn your engine off and save your fuel for when you’re moving.

Check your local fuel prices

This won't necessarily help reduce fuel consumption, however, it can help reduce your fuel costs. Prices at fuel stations can vary by quite a lot so it helps to know what's on offer. There are plenty of apps available that can help you find out which of your local garages is cheapest.

The Petrol Prices app brings up UK garages and displays live fuel prices at each local station. Every little helps! Download for iPhone here and for Android here.

Reducing your fuel consumption can help offset your carbon emissions

As we look to a more green and sustainable future in the motoring industry, we also look to ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint. You may be interested to know that the tips we have provided today also contribute to offsetting your carbon emissions. If you would like further information on how to reduce your carbon footprint, take a look at our 3 easy ways motorists can offset carbon emissions.

What are the most fuel-efficient cars?

In 2021, Auto Express published their list of the most economical cars in the UK. You may be pleased to see yours made the list or you may see one on there you’d like to choose for your next vehicle.

  • Peugeot 208 1.5 BlueHDi (100PS) Active manual – 73.6mpg
  • Vauxhall Corsa 1.5 Turbo D (102hp) SE manual – 70.6mpg
  • Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI (116hp) SE manual – 68.9mpg
  • Renault Clio 1.5 dCi (85PS) Play manual – 67.3mpg
  • Ford Focus 1.5 EcoBlue (120hp) Zetec manual – 67.3mp
  • Skoda Octavia Estate 2.0 TDI (116hp) SE manual – 67.3mpg
  • Citroen C3 1.5 BlueHDi (100hp) Flair manual – 67mpg
  • Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer 1.5 Turbo D (105hp) SE manual – 65.7mpg
  • Seat Leon 2.0 TDI (115hp) SE manual – 65.7mpg
  • Vauxhall Astra 1.5 Turbo D (105hp) SE manual – 65.7mpg

Car money-saving tips

Keep an eye out for more car money-saving tips as we provide you with practical advice you can be confident in. In the meantime, here are two easy ways you can save hundreds on your annual motoring costs:

Give your car a professional clean at home. Take a look at the best way to wash a car in 7 easy steps.

We also advise doing regular checks on your vehicle to avoid large MOT costs. Read our 10 ways to save money on your MOT.