How To Reduce Your Fuel Consumption

6 Ways to Reduce Your Petrol Consumption


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With the price of petrol on the rise, motorists around the world are looking for quick and simple ways to cut down their fuel consumption and make motoring a far more affordable experience.

It’s surprisingly easy to reduce the amount of petrol your car uses, whether it’s an eco-friendly compact car or a large, gas-guzzling sports car, by changing your driving and auto maintenance habits.

In this guide, we’ll share six simple but effective tips that you can use to reduce your fuel consumption by as much as 20 per cent and save hundreds of pounds a year on petrol.


Switch off the air conditioning Do you keep your air conditioning on, regardless of the weather? Many drivers use their car’s air conditioning no matter what the temperature is outside, leaving it on in rain, sunshine and on cloudy days. While it might not seem like a serious consumer of petrol, your car’s air conditioner uses a massive amount of energy. Air conditioning drains your car’s battery, and the huge electrical drain is recovered by – you guessed it, burning more petrol.


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Switching off your air conditioning can shave as much as 20 per cent off your total petrol consumption. The greater the difference between the temperature and your typical air conditioning level, the more fuel you’ll save. Although opening a window can affect aerodynamics and make your car burn more fuel to drive at the same speed, it’s far more fuel efficient to open your window than to switch on the air conditioner, especially at low speeds.

Choose a fuel efficient vehicle

This might sound obvious, but the type of car you drive has a massive effect on the amount of petrol you’ll burn. If your petrol bills make you wince, buying a smaller car could help you save hundreds of pounds every year on petrol. Switching to a more fuel efficient car doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing a large, comfortable car for a compact economy car. One of the best ways to increase your fuel efficiency is by switching your current petrol car for a turbo diesel model. The 2014 BMW 328d, for example, costs £1,900 less to run over five years than the otherwise identical 328i. This fuel economy tool makes comparing cars based on fuel efficiency and petrol costs quick and simple. From compact cars to fuel efficient turbo diesels, switching to a new vehicle might seem like a big step just to save some petrol, but the long term benefits and overall savings make it a good choice for people who are already interested in changing to a new car.

Drive smoothly and conservatively

When you drive smoothly and conservatively, even the most inefficient car will use very little fuel. Low RPMs, infrequent gear changes and minimal acceleration make your car use just a fraction of the petrol it would normally consume.

In 2006, Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson drove from London to Edinburgh and back on one tank of petrol. Was he driving a compact economy car? No – quite the opposite, in fact – a high-tech, incredibly heavy, V8-powered Audi A8 luxury sedan.

Clarkson, who isn’t exactly known for his relaxed driving style, managed the journey by keeping the engine under 1,200 RPM and choosing a route that allowed few stops and red lights.

He also switched off the air conditioning, played no music and refused to make any toilet stops. That’s dedication, especially in a car that’s famous for its tech gadgets and luxurious interior.

There’s no need to go to quite the same extent to save fuel, but using the same fuel economy techniques – keeping the RPMs low and driving smoothly – will massively reduce your petrol consumption, no matter what type of car you drive.

Get your car serviced frequently

The more efficiently your engine operates, the less petrol you’ll use. Keep your car serviced and it will use significantly less fuel to get you from one place to another, regardless of its engine size or normal fuel efficiency.


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Replaceable engine parts like air filters and oil filters all play a role in making sure your car performs at its best. When a warning light shows on your dashboard, take your car to the garage (or service it at home) to keep it running smoothly.

Inflate and align your tyres properly

Did you know that your tyres could be costing you hundreds of pounds a year in fuel bills? The type of tyres you install on your car affect more than just its handling – the wrong tyres can also increase its petrol consumption.

Cheap tyres are often manufactured using low quality materials with a high amount of rolling resistance. This means there’s more friction between your wheels and the road and, as such, more engine power is needed to keep your vehicle moving.

Switching to higher quality tyres might cost you slightly more, but the extra cost is made up for in lower petrol bills. The right tyres can reduce your fuel spending by more than five per cent.

As well as choosing the right tyres for your vehicle, it’s important to make sure that your tyres are properly inflated and aligned. Check your tyre pressure every month and make sure it stays as close to the manufacturer’s recommendation as possible.

Remove unused roof and bike racks

Roof racks, bicycle racks and roof boxes all reduce your car’s aerodynamics, causing it to use more power to complete journeys. The harder your engine works, the more petrol you’ll use and the more it will cost to run your car.

When you’re finished with a bicycle rack or roof storage box, unclip it and store it in your garage. Large roof boxes can increase drag by as much as 20 per cent, causing a serious increase in petrol consumption.

The increase in petrol consumption caused by a bicycle rack or roof rack is entirely due to drag, not weight. If you use your bike rack often, keep it in your car’s boot if it’s not in use to conserve fuel without having to store it at home. That said, unnecessary clutter in your boot that inevitably weighs down your car, will have an adverse effect on your fuel consumption too.

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