Cost-of-living crisis: Fuel saving tips for motorists

Filling up with fuel - Bridgestone

Seven ways you can ease the pain at the pumps…

Whether you’re heading off on your summer holidays or coping with high fuel prices day-to-day basis, there’s no harm in trying to squeeze the maximum miles out of your tank of petrol or diesel.

We’ve teamed up with tyre giant Bridgestone to provide a series of fuel-saving tips to ease the pain at the pumps.

Bridgestone’s Technical Manager Gary Powell

By tweaking driving styles, Bridgestone’s Technical Manager Gary Powell believes that a typical tank can last longer, ensuring trips to the forecourt aren’t needed quite so urgently.

1. Make sure you purchase the best tyres for your vehicle

It’s important to invest in the right tyres for your vehicle while you may be tempted to go “budget” in the long-term this will cost you more money and be more expensive on your pocket in terms of fuel. Opting for a premium product can increase fuel-range. Bridgestone is one of the world’s largest tyre manufacturers and boast some of the best performing products in terms of low-rolling resistance.

2. Check your tyre pressures

It’s really important to make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure as indicated in your owner’s manual. Underinflated and overinflated tyres both adversely affect fuel economy. Not only that you are compromising your safety – when your tyres are under inflated it compromises your ability to brake and manoeuvre safely. Vehicles with under-inflated tyres have increased rolling resistance that require more fuel to maintain the vehicles speed. This is not good for your pocket and equates to higher Co2 emissions too, which is not good for the environment either.

3. Check your tyres

If your tyres are not inflated correctly or are wearing it is both unsafe but will also have an effect on your fuel consumption. Try the 20p tread test. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, so to check if your tyres are legal, insert a 20p coin into the tread to check. If any part of the coin’s border is visible, it’s time to change the tyres.

4. Easy on the accelerator

Excessive speed is the biggest fuel-guzzling factor so having a light right foot and ensuring all acceleration is gentle is very important to fuel-efficient driving. The best way to achieve high MPG (Miles per gallon) is to drive in the highest possible gear while keeping within the speed limit. The best advice in urban areas is to change up through the gears as quickly as you can with the lowest revs possible. The faster an engine spins, the more fuel it uses.

5. Anticipate

Anticipation is key. Try to anticipate what’s going to happen in front of you by looking well ahead. By doing this, you’ll see the traffic lights on red meaning you can ease back on the accelerator or slow down as you approach and potentially keep moving as opposed to coming to a stop. Keeping the car moving at the right speed is essential to fuel economy. Obviously, this depends on traffic conditions and what’s happening on the road ahead, but slowing down and having to accelerate again uses more fuel.

6. Cruise control

Cruise control only aids fuel economy when driving on a constant flat surface, hence why it is usually best reserved for motorway driving. One of the keys to saving fuel is driving at a constant speed, cruise control can do this effectively on flat surfaces, making your driving as fuel efficient as possible by negating unnecessary acceleration. However, if you were to use your cruise control regularly, not on flat roads, you would encounter problems that would increase your fuel consumption.

7. Lighten the load

Don’t pack things into your car that you won’t be needing once you arrive at your destination. Also, don’t leave your roof bars and roof box on because they create wind resistance and cause your car to use more fuel through the ‘drag’ effect. This is increased the faster you drive. Driving with an open window also has a similar effect. And while this isn’t going to make the biggest difference to your MPG figures, it stands to reason that the heavier a vehicle is, the more fuel it will use.

Fuel tax cut for UK drivers ‘among lowest in Europe’

Gareth Herincx

3 days ago
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Petrol station

The UK languishes near bottom of list of European countries which have acted to ease the burden of high fuel prices, claims new RAC research.

Motorists in the UK are paying as as much as 20p more per litre of petrol than drivers in France, for instance.

Out of 13 EU countries that have cut tax on petrol in order to ease the spiralling costs faced by drivers every time they fill up, only one – Luxembourg – has done less than the UK Government, with a duty cut in April worth the equivalent of 4.52p compared to the 5p duty cut announced at the UK Budget in March.

It’s a similar picture for diesel, with only Croatia doing less for its drivers than the UK, with a cut worth 4.5p.

The UK Government’s intervention back in the Spring looks paltry when compared to most other European nations, with Germany taking the equivalent of 25p a litre in tax off per litre of petrol on 1 June, Italy 21p, Portugal 16p and both Ireland and the Netherlands nearly 15p.

In addition, as an alternative to cutting fuel duty, governments of other countries in the EU have introduced fuel discounts at forecourt tills with Spain taking off 20 cents (about 17p) and France 18 cents (about 15p), while some fuel retailers including TotalEnergies in France and BP Spain have discounts running of up to 40 cents per litre (about 33p).

Of the remaining 15 EU states that haven’t taken steps to lower pump prices since March, all but six already charge less fuel duty than the UK even after the UK cut fuel duty by 5p in March’s Spring Statement, and almost all are cheaper at the pumps.

Although UK pump prices have finally started to fall in recent days – after significant pressure from the RAC on retailers to reflect the fact wholesale fuel costs have been falling for seven straight weeks – the average price of a litre of both petrol and diesel is well above the current EU averages of 159p and 161p respectively.

The UK is currently the joint-second most expensive country when it comes to the average cost of a litre of petrol (186p) – behind only Finland (190p) with Denmark also at 186p – and the second most expensive for diesel at 195p per litre, with only Sweden charging more (201p).

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Soaring fuel costs have left a hole in the pocket of motorists across the country, but it could be having an unexpected positive impact on UK road safety.

According to latest research commissioned by the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, it’s thought millions of motorists have changed their driving habits for the better.

Of the 1,004 motorists surveyed, 72% stated that they had changed how they travel due to travel costs. Of this number, 38% said that they now drive more economically as a result of rising fuel costs, while almost one in five (19%) have taken extra care to stick to the speed limit.

In other words, up to 12.5m UK motorists are driving more economically and some six million have adopted slower or smoother driving habits in recent times.

“The rising cost of fuel is yet another added expenditure in this difficult cost of living crisis, and our research demonstrates that many have been forced to rethink their driving habits in an effort to keep their fuel costs to a minimum,” said Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart.

“Driving slower and more economically will no doubt help keep the pain at the pumps down, but another positive impact of this is, of course, road safety. We would urge those who have adopted slower and smoother driving habits to maintain these habits, regardless of fuel prices. This way, motorists will not only save money on fuel and travel greener, but also potentially save lives.”

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Soaring fuel costs have left a hole in the pocket of motorists across the country, but it could be having an unexpected positive impact on UK road safety.

According to latest research commissioned by the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, it’s thought millions of motorists have changed their driving habits for the better.

Of the 1,004 motorists surveyed, 72% stated that they had changed how they travel due to travel costs. Of this number, 38% said that they now drive more economically as a result of rising fuel costs, while almost one in five (19%) have taken extra care to stick to the speed limit.

In other words, up to 12.5m UK motorists are driving more economically and some six million have adopted slower or smoother driving habits in recent times.

“The rising cost of fuel is yet another added expenditure in this difficult cost of living crisis, and our research demonstrates that many have been forced to rethink their driving habits in an effort to keep their fuel costs to a minimum,” said Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart.

“Driving slower and more economically will no doubt help keep the pain at the pumps down, but another positive impact of this is, of course, road safety. We would urge those who have adopted slower and smoother driving habits to maintain these habits, regardless of fuel prices. This way, motorists will not only save money on fuel and travel greener, but also potentially save lives.”

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Young drivers rely on bank of Mum and Dad

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More than half of parents financially contribute to their child’s first car, new research has revealed.

The survey, conducted by comparethemarket.com, found that a quarter of mums and dads (28%) covered the entire cost – at an average of £3,528.

City Average amount parents contribute to their child’s first car
Sheffield  £4,544
Edinburgh £4,230
Birmingham  £4,009
Newcastle  £3,802
London £3,779

Help from the bank of Mum and Dad didn’t stop there, with one third (34%) of parents paying for the entirety of their children’s driving lessons, with an average cost of £1,159 per child.

Of the parents who admitted to financially contributing to their child’s driving lessons – 48% helped out from their savings, while 44% used funds from the household budget.

The study also found that many parents contribute to their child’s initial on-the-road costs, with 18% admitting to contributing to MOT, road tax, servicing and fuel until their child can afford it themselves.

Alex Hasty of comparethemarket.com said: “The cost of insurance for new drivers is exceptionally high when compared to that of more experienced drivers, costing an average of £565 more than the average insurance premium.

“Therefore, it’s not surprising to see that so many parents are financially contributing towards their child’s first year of car insurance.

“It’s really important for new drivers to use comparison services such as ours to help find the right policy for them and to check for any potential savings.”

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