Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Save money - save fuel driving this Summer

Whilst many will have noticed the roads are quieter with the start of the school summer holidays, all that's really happened is many families will be making longer journeys to holiday destinations or for day's out with the kids.

With these extra, longer journeys in mind, it's essential motorists do everything to reduce their fuel consumption and reduce costs, not to mention their emissions.

Here's a few motoring tips you can use all year round:

Reduce the weight - remove any unnecessary weight from your car. More weight equals more fuel.

Queues - If you're stuck in a queue, switch off your engine. Even idling uses fuel.

Drive Thru's - Take a proper break and park up and eat in the restaurant. Especially if there's a queue for the drive-thru or you may feel the need to leave the engine running for heat or cooling.

Cruisin' - Cruise control helps you maintain an even speed. If your car's got it - try using it.

Steady driving - Maintaining a steady speed and allowing plenty of time for braking could reduce your consumption by a much as 33%. Most cars start 'burning fuel once you drive over 65mph so resist the temptation to 'bomb along' at 70+mph, once you hit the duel carriageways or motorways.

Everything but the kitchen sink - Think carefully before using a roof-rack, top box or even trailer to take those holiday 'essentials' in. A roof-rack can reduce fuel economy by 5%.

Maintenance - It should be a weekly routine anyway, but especially before a long journey, check your tyre pressures (don't forget the extra load setting if your full + luggage), oil an coolant levels. Correct tyre pressures mean you'll use less fuel and be safe.

Cool it - Air-con on a car is a godsend, especially if you're stuck in slow moving traffic but remember, it can affect your mpg by around 5 miles per gallon. Add that up over a week (or a long journey) and the savings are obvious. Tilt opening a sunroof will let hot air escape a car interior - especially if used with a window open a small amount.

Finally - don't forget Dogs die when left in cars during hot weather. Even leaving a small window open may not be enough.

And my top tip - if you're driving anything more than your regular commute, packing a few drink cartons and some snacks could come in very handy if you suddenly find yourself stuck in a traffic jam.

photo credit: gustavo jeronimo

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