Top tips to make your car more fuel efficient

Our advice on reducing your vehicle’s fuel consumption.

Fuel prices have been on the up since the price of a barrel of oil plummeted early in 2020. Today we are all paying more at the pumps, but, whether you drive petrol or diesel, there are ways to reduce your fuel consumption. If you’ve gone electric, then read on too because many of these suggestions could increase the range of your EV.

Drive sensibly

This doesn’t mean driving slower, but rather driving more sensibly for the vehicle you have. Regardless of what you have, avoid hard acceleration and excess speed requiring otherwise unnecessary braking. Keep it smooth, essentially.

Keep to the correct tyre pressures

Tyres are designed to run at their best at a certain pressure. If the pressure is too low, then there’s more rubber in contact with the road, which creates more rolling resistance and therefore more fuel consumption. It also reduces the life of the tyre so there’s a double financial hit. Don’t over-inflate them though because then you’ll have too small a contact patch and not as much grip, plus you increase the risk of punctures.

Buy ‘eco tyres’

While we’re talking tyres, manufacturers have moved on from creating eco tyres just for the Toyota Prius. These days almost all tyre companies have an eco-tyre range that has less rolling resistance to reduce consumption and at the same time reduce emissions.

Get rid of those accessories

We know that the salesperson told you that the roof box on your SUV has been designed by clever people to be aerodynamic, but it’s still a big box on the top of your car. If you’re not using it, take it off. The same goes for the roof bars, big rectangular pieces of metal that create drag and increase your consumption. Anything that adds weight inside the car that you don’t use can also go, such as those golf clubs you’ve not used for six months…

Plan your journeys

Many navigation systems will help you to plan the most eco-efficient journey, but otherwise, try to avoid hilly routes. Sure, the downhills will be gentle and easy on fuel, but the uphill sections will require more gear changes and demand more from your engine increasing the average fuel consumption. It’s also worth planning to avoid rush-hour traffic if possible, as that means time wasted in stop-start traffic.

Charge your hybrid

If you own a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) then do exactly that, plug it in. Most PHEVs use a smaller petrol engine to support the electric motor and, when the battery charge is depleted, the engine has to work harder. That ruins your fuel consumption. Keep the battery topped up from an external source and you’ll not only get the best consumption, but you could also drive more in electric mode and not use any fuel at all.

Service your car

Almost as obvious as driving sensibly, it’s amazing how many people don’t service their car properly and then complain about poor fuel consumption. Regular servicing makes an engine more efficient and that means optimum consumption.