British motorists seem to see fuel prices rising with every passing week. In fact, BBC News reported that the average price of a litre of fuel throughout the UK worked out at £1.34 for diesel and £1.24 for petrol as of the start of December 2018. Drivers do not need to put up with handing over more money to keep their vehicle running, however, as Volkswagen servicing providers Vindis urges them to ask the following questions so that they can try and make the fuel in their automobiles go further…
Do you drive smoothly?
Reduce the amount of time you brake and accelerate, and you should see your vehicle using less fuel. Obviously, there will be times when you’ll need to slow your vehicle down — or to a sudden standstill in the event of an emergency — but you should be road savvy enough to be able to approach traffic lights at a gentler pace, for example, or smoothly get up a hill.
Commuting in times when there’s heavy traffic will also see you having to stop and start your car so many times, which will likely be at the expense of your fuel economy. If it’s possible, try and get around having to commute in the rush hour. Perhaps you can head to an exercise class or gym that’s near your workplace instead of waiting until you get home, for instance.
Do you conduct maintenance checks around your vehicle?
A vehicle that is in tip-top condition should use less fuel during a commute when compared to a set of wheels which appears to be on its last legs. A regular service is highly recommended to achieve the best efficiency, while you need to be always using the correct specification of engine oil too — consult your manufacturer handbook to find the details you need here.
Check tyre pressures as well, both on a regular basis and ahead of any long road trip. This is because tyres which are under inflated will force your car into having to use more fuel. Correctly inflated tyres, meanwhile, could improve fuel consumption by up to two per cent in context, according to the RAC.
Can you combine multiple road trips?
A vehicle’s engine will be cold if the set of wheels has been in a parked position for a few hours. As a result, a lot more fuel will be used for around the first five miles of you heading out onto the road. With this in mind, you should look to drive for as long as possible when the engine is warm instead of conducting several short trips with long gaps in between each one.
Let’s put this idea into context. If you do the school run in the morning, have to go to the supermarket for the weekly shop sometime during the day and visit some family, can you not do all three during one stint away from your home?
Are you carrying unnecessary weight?
Your vehicle will need to use more fuel with every additional item that is placed in its cabin during a road trip. In fact, every 50kg increases your fuel consumption by two per cent on average, claims the RAC. With this in mind, regularly look around your vehicle and get rid of the stuff you aren’t using. Will you really be using that set of golf clubs in the middle of winter? Or that pair of cross country running shoes in the middle of summer?
While this next piece of advice won’t apply to long journeys, you can also actually improve fuel economy by only filling half of your vehicle’s tank with fuel. This substance adds to the weight after all, and you’re not going to need 300+ miles worth of petrol or diesel just to complete a half-hour commute to and from work.
Are you maintaining your vehicle’s aerodynamic design?
Wind resistance will result in your vehicle having to use more fuel to get from A to B. Therefore, it’s best to keep windows and sunroofs closed especially when you’re travelling at high speeds. Make sure to remove roof racks and boxes for storage when they aren’t being used as well — up to 20 per cent fuel can be saved on an annual basis by removing a cargo box from a vehicle’s roof alone!
During the design stage, vehicle makers will be conducting a lot of research into aerodynamics in order to find solutions for reducing the drag that a vehicle possesses. It makes sense then that drivers should be maintaining that aerodynamic design too.