12 ways to cut the cost of motoring

Published:
22 February 2012
Topic:
News,Insurance,Motoring,Car

The price of unleaded petrol has hit new record highs, according to industry analysts Experian Catalist. The average cost of a litre of unleaded fuel now sits at 137.44 pence, which just tops the previous record in May 2011 of 137.43 a litre.

Diesel drivers are suffering from record fuel prices too. Cash-strapped families across the UK are now forking out an average 143.95 pence for each litre they buy. This means that a family car with a 70-litre diesel engine will cost more than £100 to fill.

Rising duty and VAT, expensive oil due to concerns over supply, a weak pound and even tension in the Middle East are all behind the record costs. But this doesn't make them any easier to stomach.

We can't control the price of fuel, but there are ways to bring the cost of motoring down. Here are our 12 top tips...

1. Cut your insurance costs

One of the easiest ways to cut motoring costs is to make sure you are paying the lowest possible price for your car insurance.

Unfortunately, providers don't reward loyalty so shopping around is the only way to ensure you get the best quote possible. By using MoneySupermarket's car insurance channel you will be able to compare quotes from over 100 providers and cut your insurance costs.

2. Pay your premium annually

While shelling out a lump sum may be tough at the time, it can save you money in the long run. This is because a number of insurance companies charge interest on monthly payments for the privilege. Read our article 'The best way to pay for car insurance' to weigh up your options.

In addition to interest charges on monthly payments you should also try to avoid any of the other 'hidden' fees such as policy adjustment fees and cancellation charges.

3. Give your car some T.L.C.

Making sure your tyres are properly inflated will make your car safer but will also save money. Tyres underinflated by 10% use 2.5% more fuel so it is worth checking them regularly. Having your car serviced frequently will ensure the engine is kept in tip-top fuel-efficient condition.

4. Shop around for petrol

By entering your postcode into petrolprices.com, you'll find the cheapest fuel price in your area. According to their website, you could save £2 per fill-up by using it -an amount not to be sniffed at.

5. Have a work-out!

It's often tempting to reach for your car keys for even the shortest of journeys. But stop and consider - do you really need your wheels to get you to the corner shop? Walking or cycling will not only save you money, your waistline will appreciate it too!

6. Carefully does it

Avoid sharp acceleration and braking and maintain  a steady speed to cut your fuel consumption. Roll to a halt on the approach to traffic lights and stay alert so you are aware of any potential hazards that may result in you having to slam on the brakes.

7. Turn your engine off

If you're unlucky enough to be caught in a queue and it looks like it could be pretty lengthy, then switch your engine off.  Not only will you cut fuel consumption but you'll also prevent your engine from overheating.

8. Remove excess weight

It may be a task you're avoiding but if you have a bulging boot, remove anything you don't need. Excess weight means extra fuel so if you don't need it, take it out. Roof-racks are best avoided too - they add wind resistance which in turn increases your fuel usage.

9. Switch your air-con off

It may surprise you, but using air conditioning can increase fuel consumption. The same goes for your heated rear windscreen, headlights and demisters, so if you can go without (and it's safe to do so), then you'll bring costs down.

10. Get cash back on your fuel spend

Getting a Cashback credit card that rewards you for spending you hard-earned money on fuel could be another way to ease costs. The Santander 123 Cash back credit card allows you to earn 3% cash back on fuel spend, 1% on supermarket spend, and 2% on purchases made in department stores. While the maximum you can earn on fuel spend is £9 per month it is certainly worth considering.

11. Savvy parking

It's easy to get stung by the excessive prices that city-centre car parks tend to charge. You can avoid this by researching where you can park for less before setting off on your journey and some people are even willing to hire out their driveways to visitors and communters - go to yourparkingspace.co.uk for more information.

12. Car share

Ask round at work to see if anyone lives in your area and would be willing to car-share, especially if your drive is quite a distance.  Not only will your pocket feel the benefit, you'll be able to enjoy a relaxing journey to work on the days you're not driving.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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