Whether you are leasing or buying there are a number of monthly costs you’ll need to factor into your budget.

One of these is insurance. Insurance premiums are not only based on the model you opt for and factors like its size, risk category, fuel type and engine but also on you as the driver. Most insurance providers will take into account your driving history, including any driving convictions, years of driving, no claims discount as well as your age and any medical conditions you need to make them aware of.

As there are so many different factors taken into account there’s no universal advice we can give on how to reduce your premiums, so we’re going to look at the second cost you’ll have – fuel. This post is going to focus on traditional fuels, petrol and diesel, but if you would like to know more about the cost of charging then take a look at this article.

Top 10 Tips for Better Fuel Economy

You might be wondering what you can do to reduce the cost of your monthly fuel spend and the good news is there’s a number of small adjustments you can make that can have a pretty big impact.

We’ve rounded up our top 10 tips to help you improve your fuel economy and reduce the bill at the pump.  

1. Avoid Idling

An idling engine is still burning fuel even though you are not moving. This automatically reduces the miles per gallon (MPG) that you get from the vehicle.

If you are in slow-moving stop-start traffic, then consider putting your hand brake on and turning the engine off whilst you are stopped for long periods.

We also recommend not leaving the engine idling when you are stopping to pick someone up / drop someone off or waiting in the vehicle for any time.

If you have a modern car with stop-start technology then use this, it will automatically reduce the time you spend with an idling engine if used correctly.

2. Keep to the Speed Limit

Speeding can significantly increase your fuel consumption and so we recommend keeping to the limit to ensure not only your’s and other road users’ safety but also to help improve your fuel economy.

If your car offers cruise control then one way to ensure a steady, slower speed is to use this to set your speed at the road’s limit. We recommend setting it a couple of miles below the actual speed limit to help ensure you’re not caught out by speed cameras if your odometer is slightly off.

Using cruise control also means that your vehicle is maintaining a steady speed and so there is no acceleration which also helps with your fuel economy.

3. Vehicle Weight

The heavier your vehicle is the more fuel it will take to move it.

We recommend shedding excess weight where possible, removing roof boxes, bike racks and any unnecessary luggage from the vehicle.

If you are constantly carrying heavy loads, then you might notice your fuel bill is higher than someone with the same model who doesn’t carry as much with them regularly.

Silver estate car with roof box

4. Accelerate and Brake Smoothly

Harsh acceleration and braking use a lot of engine power which in turn uses more fuel.

Not only is it better for the environment to keep accelerating and braking smooth but it’s also better for your petrol bill.  

One way in which you can avoid the need for harsher acceleration and braking is by anticipating the traffic ahead. If you’re on a road that you know has several traffic lights over a short distance or in a long queue of traffic, rather than stopping and starting try travelling at a lower speed, this keeps your vehicle rolling and removes the constant stopping and starting that you might otherwise use. 

5. Make Combined Journeys

A hot engine is a more efficient one, in part because your battery works better in warmer conditions. 

One way that you can improve your overall fuel economy is by combining several smaller trips into one longer journey, for example if you have to drop children off at school, go to the shops and visit your parents rather than doing these all at separate times of the day and allowing your engine to cool down in between, combine them into one trip. 

6. Vehicle Maintenance

Regular maintenance and servicing on your vehicle keeps it in the best condition possible and this in turn helps your fuel consumption.

We recommend ensuring the vehicle is serviced in line with the manufacturer guidelines and any maintenance work is completed as soon as possible.

7. Tyre Pressure

One check you should do more regularly is to check the tyre pressure. This is because tyres that are not inflated to the correct level can reduce your fuel economy by as much as five per cent.

We recommend if you are driving a lot that you check your tyre pressure around once a month.  

A car tyre having it's pressure adjusted

8. Shut the Window

The more aerodynamic your car is the better the fuel economy will be.

Having your windows open increases drag on the vehicle and creates stronger wind resistance.

In general, having your windows open at lower speeds doesn’t have a massive impact but if you are driving over 40 mph we recommend closing the windows.

9. Turn Off the Air Conditioning

Using your air conditioning, or heating on colder days, requires engine power so will have an impact on your fuel consumption. This is especially true if you are travelling at low speeds.

If it is a particularly warm day, we recommend using the air conditioning on a low setting over opening the window, as the effect on your fuel consumption is less.

10. Air Filters

Dirty air filters cause your engine to work harder than it has too, which means more fuel is used.

You should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to change these as needed to help boost your fuel economy.

Petrol pump showing price in British sterling and fuel amount in litres

We know that with the current pandemic you might not be driving as much as you usually would and wanting to get the best mpg you can when you do need to fill up. So, as a bonus for you we’ve also got five additional tricks that have been tried and tested by Xcite Car Leasing and saved us some pennies at the pumps.

1. Rewards Cards

Most petrol station providers and supermarkets offer a rewards scheme, for example, if you spend a certain amount in store then there’s a voucher for 10p off per litre at their pumps.

Take advantage of these schemes as they can help you get a lower price for the fuel you need, even if they have a slightly higher starting price.

2. Don’t Rest Your Foot on the Brake

Keeping your foot resting on the brake pedal, even if you don’t think you’re pressing down on it, can cause mechanical drag which reduces your fuel economy. When you’re not using the brake we recommend keeping your foot off the pedal entirely.

3. Shut the Fuel Cap

One reason you might not be getting the mileage you expect is because of fuel evaporation.

If your fuel cap is not secured tightly then this might be escaping out of the tank so we advise making sure that it is fully secured once you’ve filled up at the pump.  

4. Fuel All Out of the Nozzle

Speaking of filling up at the petrol station, once you’ve stopped the flow of fuel hold the nozzle in your tank for a little longer to allow the last little bit to go into your vehicle. It might not save you a lot but it does help you get as much fuel for your money as possible.

A silver car's open fuel cap

5. Don’t Drive

The best way you can save fuel is not to use it. Consider whether you really need to drive to your destination and if it’s a journey you regularly take like going into the office is there someone you can carpool with when it’s safe to do so again.

Why is Fuel So Expensive?

Fuel prices are determined on a number of factors.

One of which is demand. Over the current pandemic, we’ve seen the price fluctuate greatly as demand reduced during lockdown and then gradually crept back up as the country started reopening at various points in the year.

There is still some uncertainty over when life, and fuel prices, will return to normal, but with plans in place for lockdown restrictions to gradually ease, vaccines and travelling restrictions lifting it’s likely that we’ll see prices rise back to where they were pre-pandemic.

Another thing that affects the price of fuel is the fuel duty you pay on it.  The amount of duty you pay depends on the type of fuel it is but for both petrol and diesel it is currently at 57.95 pence per litre.

In addition to fuel duty, you will also pay VAT at 20% on any fuel you purchase. Businesses may be able to claim this back provided you can provide it was used for business use only.

A bright Shell fuel station in the dark

We hope that you’ve found these tips helpful. Let us know in the comments below if you have any of your own tricks to help save fuel!


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