Let the pounds take care of themselves
WE’RE all trying to watch the pennies these days and that involves making sacrifices. I’ve already got myself down to 10 packets of pickled onion Monster Munch a day and GrAnt is foregoing the naan bread with his Sunday night curry (he still insists on the prune juice mind, which makes Monday mornings interesting at InsureAnts HQ).
You don’t need me to tell you that your car devours a fair chunk of your hard-earned cash. Many people are working longer hours and probably seeing more of the staff at their local petrol station than their own family. It’s getting harder to make a full tank last, so I’ve put together a few pointers to help you get the most out of your petrol of diesel
How’s my driving?
Well, if it’s anything like Lewis Hamilton, you’ll be tearing into the pits on a regular basis. I know this rich coming from me, but slow down. Where do you need to be that quickly anyway?
Even cutting your speed from 70 to 60 mph can give you an extra four mile per gallon and it’ll probably only add about five minutes to your journey. Changing your driving style will help your fuel last longer.
Treat those pedals a bit more gently, don’t stamp all over the accelerator or slam on the breaks. Slowly and gradually pressing down on the brake pedal is a much more economical way to come to a stop and it’ll also save wear and tear on your brake pads.
Young Ant Tony is a fan of Arcade Fire (I prefer a bit of Van Morrison myself) and he loves playing that tune ‘Keep the Car Running’ in the office. I always like to remind him that his fuel bill will be sky high if he heeds their advice.
It’s always best to shut off your engine if you’re sitting for any length of time. You’re not going anywhere, so why use up your precious fuel? Now that winter’s starting to really take hold, we’ll hop in the car in the morning and turn on the engine just to get it warmed up.
That’s okay, as long as you don’t let in run for more than 30 seconds because then you’ll be eating into your petrol or diesel reserves. Again, on warmer days having the windows open can increase drag and therefore cut your fuel economy by up to 10%.
A little bit of TLC goes a long way. Okay, so not everybody is nuts about cars. Many people just see them as a way to get from A to B and, if you have time at the weekend, C. But you don’t need to watch Top Gear or converse in what sometimes seems like secret code with your mechanic to be able to look after your motor.
Maintaining your vehicle to a good standard can increase your fuel economy.
For a start, make sure your tyre pressure is set at the recommended pressure. This will make your car travel more smoothly and give an extra 3.3% of fuel economy.
We all know that when we have a cold and are all bunged up, it’s hard to function at our best. Cars are like that too. A bunged up oil filter can seriously reduce fuel economy so next time you change your oil, get your filter checked and if it’s dirty, get it replaced. This could cut your fuel costs by 10%.
It may seem like it’s written in a foreign language, but read the car’s manual and make sure you have your vehicle up to standard. If you think it needs a bit of work, get a good mechanic on the job.
Spending money getting your car in good shape will save you in the long run.
Make sure you know what kind of petrol or diesel is the best for your car. If you aren’t using the fuel that’s recommended, you’ll not get the best level of fuel economy from your motor.
It’s the same for oil too. Find out what the manufacturer recommends and make sure you change it when needed.
You should also clean out the ‘junk in your trunk’, that is make sure your not carrying too much in your boot. The lighter your car, the less fuel you’ll need to haul it around.
It’s all in the mind
If you really get your thinking cap on and look at how often you use your car and what your use it for, you may find you could cut out some journeys or use it less. If you’re popping into the shops, make sure you get all you need in one trip instead of having to run into town a few times a day.
Hey, why not even thinking about walking the next time you need to go into town or go somewhere that’s not too far? It’ll not only save you fuel, it’s also good for your health.
So if you change the way you drive and look after your car, you could save as much as £300 a year – that’s a lot of Monster Munch (well, month’s supply at least!).