With the stratospheric rises in fuel prices, motorists are quite rightly becoming more and more concerned about the cost of driving.
The cost of filling up a typical family car today has exceeded £90 for the first time, and could rise to beyond £100 putting an even tighter squeeze on household budgets.
The driving force behind these increases is of course the Ukraine crisis, as Russia’s oil has become something of an untouchable commodity. This has increased pressure on other suppliers to meet the demand which has lead to global prices soaring and lots of stunned drivers at the pumps.
The recent 5p cut in fuel duty announced by the Chancellor will bring a small amount of relief but is described as a ‘drop in the ocean’ by RAC spokesperson Nicholas Lyes.
The good news is that there are several other methods of getting more miles out of your tank of fuel that could off set some of the unprecedented increases we’ve been seeing.
We’d like to share some of the simplest and fastest ways to make savings. The cost of filling a tank is the cost of filling a tank, but the more miles you can get out of that tank or the longer you can leave it between refills means more money in your pocket.
Do you really need to travel?
One of the easiest ways to extend the number of days between tank top-ups is to ask the question ‘do I really need to make this journey?’
On most occasions, the answer will probably be ‘yes’, but some journeys are more of a habit than a necessity. Lots of short journeys drain your fuel faster than fewer longer ones, so it’s the nipping out that stands to deliver the biggest savings.
Can you walk or cycle to work or on the school run instead of driving? Can you walk to the shops or arrange home delivery? Even paying the delivery charge may now be cheaper than the cost of fuel to get there and back.
Do you find yourself popping back into town because you forgot something on your earlier trip?
Can you arrange lift shares for the school run or take children to activities and events?
This is an opportunity to take stock of the unnecessary miles we are travelling and hopefully build some more environmentally-friendly habits that will remain with us even after the price of fuel returns to a more manageable level.
For the driving that you are doing, here are a few tips to help make them more economical.
Have you ever tried to drag a heavy box across a kitchen floor with nice shiny tiles? It moves pretty smoothly doesn’t it, not taking too much effort or energy.
Now imagine trying to push that same box across a shag pile carpet. It’d be much harder, taking more effort and energy and probably snagging and getting stuck from time to time.
The same principle applies with your car maintenance. You car will never be 100% efficient, where all of the energy in the fuel goes into moving it forwards. You lose some as heat from the engine and friction between the tyres and the road and also the moving parts all along the drive chain.
How much of this energy you lose, however, depends on how well lubricated, aligned and maintained the working parts are.
Over time the components of the inner workings of your car can get knocked out of alignment, lubricants can pick up bits of grit and change their viscosity, and parts can wear and tear. All of which is like moving your heavy box from the shiny tiles to the shag pile carpet.
Regular servicing, making sure your tyres are correctly inflated and fluids are topped up is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re getting the most bang out of every buck you spend on fuel.
At Thame Cars whenever we carry out a service we do it with both safety and efficiency in mind. We want you to be in control so we’ll tell you when something needs replacing now and when something is likely to need replacing in the next 6 months. Contact us today and we discuss your options moving forward
You know you’re old when you’re watching an action movie where a car wheel spins from a standing start and you immediately think how much fuel they just burned through!
Heavy acceleration and braking is the number one factor that affects fuel economy when you’re driving and an ‘easy does it’ approach can help you eek out many more miles for each tank of fuel.
Once you’re up to speed, try to keep your car in the highest gear possible whilst staying within the speed limit. For most cars, lower revs will take less fuel to sustain so you’ll end up saving more.
Most cars are at peak efficiency when driving between 40 and 50mph. Other factors have an impact on this as well, such as road conditions and gradient, but trying to keep at a constant pace can help save fuel.
Using the cruise control is a great way to do this if you usually find your speed creeping up or dropping down
Sailing boats with bigger sails go faster because they have more surface area for the wind to push on. If you’re on a boat, you want nice big sails and you want lots of steady wind.
But if you’re in a car, as most of us are, wind acts as a brake rather than as an accelerator. In fact, about half of the fuel used goes into overcoming wind resistance and the friction between the road and the tyres. What’s more, the faster you drive the more the wind wants to push you backwards which is the main reason why higher speeds are less efficient.
Some cars are naturally more aerodynamic than others (think sports cars versus people carriers), but even if there’s not much you can do about the design of your car you can still minimise the wind resistance.
One of the biggest unnecessary contributors to resistance is roof bars and roof boxes. These increase the frontal area of your car. Leaving them attached when you don’t need them may save you a bit of time and storage, but will be costing you in fuel.
The other major contributor to wind resistance is driving with the windows down. Cars are designed for air to pass over the body and if a window is down a crack it creates eddies and currents that disrupt this smooth flow.
The end result is more drag and more fuel to travel from A to B.
The air conditioning system runs off a pump and heat exchanger, both of which require energy. As this energy comes from your fuel it stands to reason that it will cost you to run it.
If it’s too hot or cold in the car try starting off with the air-con running, but then switch it off for a spell so you reduce the load.
With all of these tips and ideas to save fuel hopefully, it will reduce the burden on your budget and off set some of the increases we have been seeing at the pumps.
To find out more about Thame Cars servicing plans give us a call or visit our site01844 390561