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With the price of petrol and diesel increasing in recent months here are a few simple tips that will help you cut the cost of fuel writes Geraldine Herbert

1) Drive smoothly and in the right gear – One of the easiest and most effective ways to conserve fuel is to change your driving style. Aim to travel at a constant speed and drive smoothly so avoid slamming on the brakes or accelerating harshly. Also don’t linger in low gears, getting into the highest gear you can, at the lowest possible speed, will save you fuel. Remember aggressive driving will only lead to higher fuel consumption. On longer journeys and particularly on motorways use cruise control as you will save fuel by maintaining a consistent speed.

2) Lighten the load – Clearing out unnecessary items from your car can lessen the load and reduce your fuel consumption so remove all non-essential items – including roof racks, all car clutter and don’t forget to include the boot!

3) Keep your car well maintained – Keeping your car regularly serviced will save you money in the long run. Check tyre pressures regularly, any imbalance in the tyre pressure can affect your fuel efficiency and ensure your tyres are properly inflated and your wheels are aligned.

4) Plan ahead – Anticipate stop signs and lights as the less you have to brake hard to stop the better your fuel economy. Consolidate your shopping trips and use the car prudently. The more you drive, the more fuel you use, especially on short trips. So plan out your route in advance and avoid travelling during rush hour if you can as that helps to reduce starting, stopping and idling. Google maps is a very handy app to use to avoid roadworks and excessive traffic so it will save you time, money and frustration.

5) Stay within the speed limit – The faster you drive the quicker your fuel will disappear. Even small speed reductions can make a difference, maintaining a steady speed of 80km instead of 95km can improve fuel economy by 25%. So slow down it will save you fuel and it might also save a speeding fine.

6) Shop around for fuel – Fuel prices tend to fluctuate from one service station to another so keep an eye on where offers the best value and don’t underestimate the savings that can be achieved from a cent or two in the difference. But obviously don’t go too far out of your way for cheaper fuel.

7) Turn the air-conditioning off – It’s probably best to use air conditioning sparingly if you are trying to conserve your fuel. So if you are travelling at low speeds it is better to open a window but once driving over 50km/h air conditioning is the better option.

8) Work out your actual fuel consumption – Most manufacturers will give a rough guide of the consumption of a car but the only way to truly work out what you’re using in your car is to measure your own consumption. To determine your actual consumption you divide the litres used by the kilometres travelled and multiply by 100 to calculate consumption in litres/100km. (litres / distance * 100 = l/100km) So for example: 57 litres / 635 km * 100 = 8.97l/100km.

 

About the Author

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen.ie. Geraldine Herbert is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1.

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