With the cost of living on the rise, here are our tips on how you could improve the fuel efficiency of your car.
January is always a hard month when it comes to money. Christmas is over, and many of us find ourselves a bit strapped for cash as we head into the new year. And this year has been particularly tough. Cost of living is on the rise, including the cost of fuel. By the end of December, fuel prices had hit their highest point since December 2014, and according to the RAC there’s unlikely to be any let up for the start of 2018. With this in mind, finding different ways to improve your average MPG is becoming more of a priority for many drivers. And we’re here to help! We’ve scoured the internet to find the best advice on how you can get those extra few miles out of your fuel tank.
Before you’ve even started your journey, there are things you can be doing to improve your average MPG and reduce your fuel bill.
The first is shopping around. Like everything else, petrol stations are competing for your business, so prices can vary massively. It’s definitely worth your while to do a bit of research about the petrol stations around your home, your work and anywhere else that may be part of your normal driving routine and planning your top-ups for wherever’s cheapest.
Once you’re at the pump, there’s another tip that can help you get more out of your fuel – only fill up halfway. Why will this help reduce your fuel bill? It reduces the load on your car, which means the engine needs less fuel to get the car moving. So unless you’re planning a long journey, topping up less, more often will be easier on your wallet than filling your tank the whole way up.
Reduce unnecessary weight
The same logic as filling up halfway to reduce weight applies to other items that may be causing your fuel consumption to rise. Roof racks, bike racks, random stuff in the boot, all of this can weigh your car down and put a strain on your engine. Unless you’re regularly loading up a bike to your car, or transporting items on the roof, it’s worth taking the extra time to remove and replace these items as necessary, rather than leaving them on 24/7.
One way we all might be wasting fuel is not planning our daily driving more efficiently. Rather than making several small trips, taking the time to plan several tasks within one larger trip will save you time and improve efficiency. Also, look at which route will put you on the clearest, higher speed roads and motorways. It may not be the shortest route, but the consistent speed and limited traffic will actually improve your efficiency.
Keep on top of car maintenance
Poor car maintenance can lead to an inefficient engine and higher fuel bill. But there are some simple maintenance tips that can help you get more from your engine.
First, make sure you keep on top of your service schedule and replace items like air filters when recommended. You can find out when your car is due its next service by contacting one of our service teams in Byfleet, Bookham and Orpington.
Outside of servicing, checking your tyre pressures and making sure they’re at the optimum level will help improve fuel efficiency. It’s recommended that you check your tyre pressures once a month. The tyres themselves can also impact your MPG, so if your tyres need replacing, researching which ones will help you get the most out of your fuel could save you money in the long term.
Take advantage of the car’s technology
Modern cars are designed to offer drivers the most fuel-efficient engines they can. Both Mazda and Suzuki offer a range of engine options that have been refined and optimised to offer their drivers the best efficiency without compromising the drive quality. And it’s not just in a lab that these brands shine in terms of fuel economy. According to Honest John’s real-world MPG calculator, Mazda has an average of 86% compared to the advertised MPG, exceeding the industry average by 3 points. And impressively, the latest version of the MX-5 has a current rating of 102% real-world fuel efficiency. As for Suzuki, their average sits at a whopping 90%. But there are bits of tech in your car that you may not be using in the best way to improve your MPG.
First, turning off your air conditioning can improve your MPG. However, that doesn’t mean don’t use it at all. When demisting your windscreen, air conditioning removes moisture from the air as it enters the cabin and speeds up the process.
The second bit of tech you may not be taking advantage of is eco-engine mode. This turns the engine off while the car is sitting idle with the handbrake on. But if you’re sitting in traffic with your foot on the brake, your car won’t kick into this mode.
Another bit of driving tech that can help you improve MPG is cruise control. While using it indiscriminately can have the opposite effect, engaging cruise control on a level, clear road helps you maintain a constant speed which improves fuel efficiency.
Make good driving habits
Moving on from technology use, there are other good driving habits you can adopt which will help improve fuel efficiency.
First, make sure you’re reading the road ahead, and adjusting your speed and acceleration accordingly. There’s no point accelerating quickly, only to meet traffic ahead and have to hit the brakes.
More generally, gentle acceleration and braking will help reduce your fuel consumption. Patient driving generally is advised if you want to get more out of a tank of fuel, particularly as hasty driving often doesn’t get you much further! And it’s incredibly satisfying to end up just behind an impatient driver who’d overtaken you earlier at the next junction.
Gear choices also make a big difference when it comes to fuel efficiency. Shifting as early as possible and keeping your revs low means your engine is using less fuel. The optimal shifting point varies from car to car, so there’s no exact timing for this. But if your car includes a gear shift indicator, trust it and shift when it tells you to.
If you’re looking for a new car, and want to know which is the most efficient option for your driving, get in touch with our sales teams. For Mazda, they’re based in Weybridge, Bookham and Orpington. And for Suzuki, they’re based in Effingham.