How to use less fuel

With petrol prices soaring, what can we do to cut the amount of fuel we are using? Felicity Hannah speaks to the AA's driving expert Krys Gordon to get his top tips on driving more efficiently...  

Petrol prices are rocketing thanks to the VAT hike, fuel duty and now instability in some oil-producing countries.

But you can pay less. The AA reckons motorists can save up to £500 a year in fuel by driving more efficiently. In fact, it runs a course in driving efficiently, which it says cuts 10% from pupils’ annual fuel bills.

That’s a saving of £160 a year for the average driver based on today's fuel prices. So I’ve come to interview Krys Gordon, one of the AA’s 'Smarter Driving' instructors. He’s promised to share with me a few of his top tips…

FH: So Krys, can your driving habits really make a difference to the amount of fuel your car consumes?

Krys Gordon: Yes, it can save you up to £500 a year, if you drive more economically.

FH: But, surely the most important thing is the efficiency of the vehicle itself?

KG: No, not always. Yes it is essential that the car is maintained correctly, but its mainly down to your driving habits and how you drive the car. 

FH: So, how much can the average driver cut down on fuel by attending one of your courses?

KG: They can save up to 10% on their fuel a year.

The Car

If you have got any excess baggage in your boot for instance, take it out – if you don’t need it – so obviously you are going to be more fuel economical.

It is very important that your tyres are at the correct pressure and again that will save you fuel.

If you have a roof rack fitted, and if you’re not using it, remove it – your car has been through a wind tunnel by the manufacturers and its going to cause drag – so, take it off if you’re not using it, store it away, when you need it put it back on.

Oil changes - if you do your own oil changes make sure you put the correct oil into what the manufactures recommends. Putting cheaper oil in might be cheaper in the short term but in the long run you might not be saving money.

Behind the wheel

So, my main tips for diving are using your gears correctly, changing gear early at 2,500 revs will save you a lot more fuel.
Say you are driving at 70mph, if you drop it to 65mph – if it’s safe to and you’re not in a rush to get there – that will save you fuel.

Air conditioning, that’s probably the biggest extra user of fuel.

Coming up to a roundabout, keep the speed slow on the approach. Depending on what we can see there is how fast you want to approach it, so if you can’t see you need to come right down to first gear but you might as well slow down a lot earlier and that will save you a lot more fuel.

Also, miss gears out - so going from second to fourth gear. One, its saves fuel, and two, it saves wear and tear on your car. 

FH: So there you have it. Ways to save a packet and help the planet. Quite literally a win-win situation.

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