Skyrocketing fuel costs don’t seem to be going anywhere. That’s the story, experts say, with petrol prices already pushing up and in some cases to over £2 a litre, with £100-plus refills increasingly becoming the norm.
The RAC’s Fuel Watch said the cost of filling up had risen by £9 in June alone, with petrol jumping to a monthly record of almost 17p a liter (16.59p) to 191.43p.
It now averages 191.27p, just shy of a record high of 191.53p.
Fuel scare: The RAC said the cost of filling up was up £9 in June alone, with petrol jumping to a monthly record of almost 17p a liter to 191.43p.
The RAC says the higher pump prices are a result of higher oil prices, but as costs have started to fall, fuel giants and petrol stations have been slow to pass on the benefits.
But motorists can help save themselves the sting by following these helpful tips.
Watch your speed
Relaxing the accelerator uses less fuel. Drive more economically and smoothly, avoiding sudden accelerations and braking. Slow withdrawal can also help.
Imagine that you are a chauffeur. This is a good technique to learn even if there is no fuel price crisis.
Many modern cars have an “eco” mode setting that programs the car to minimize sudden acceleration and use less fuel.
Reports show that driving at 80 miles per hour on the highway uses 25 percent more fuel than driving at 70 miles per hour. And 70 mph uses about 9 percent more fuel than 60 mph.
Tom Hickson, head of instructor support at Bill Plant Driving School, said: “While all motorists should stick to the speed limit at all times, the faster your car goes the more fuel it uses.”
Your car’s air conditioning system puts extra strain on the engine to keep the car cool, which can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent, according to some estimates.
Therefore, at lower speeds, it is better to open the window. But at higher speeds, close the window and turn on the A/C. This reduces drag, improves the car’s aerodynamics and saves fuel.
Cleaning the boot can also be helpful. It may seem obvious, but the lighter the car, the less fuel it uses, so avoid roof racks and bike racks.
Halfords notes: “Most of them are guilty of using the car or boot as storage, but the extra weight can increase fuel consumption.
“Before you hit the road, unpack any unnecessary bulky items such as prams, luggage or boxes, and remove equipment such as the roof and bike racks when not in use.”
Drive with half a tank – like Formula 1 racing cars. With a full tank, you burn more fuel to carry more fuel.
Buy at the best prices. Supermarkets used to be among the leaders, but even their prices are sky-high now.
Do your research and check local fuel prices online before you fill up to get the best price in your area without wasting time and money traveling between stations. Confused.com and GoCompare.com are among those that offer a free price-checking service.
Loyalty schemes can also help. Some gas stations in supermarkets offer points that can be redeemed at the gas station or in the store.
And avoid premium fuel unless you have a high-performance vehicle for which it is recommended. Halfords suggests looking at fuel additives as a “cost-effective way to increase fuel economy”.
Check your tires
Make sure your tires are always inflated to the correct pressure. Not only is incorrect tire pressure dangerous, if the pressure is too low, the car needs more fuel to move you because the engine has to work harder to compensate.
Properly inflated tires also last longer, so you’re helping to extend their life.
Six top tips for saving fuel
1. Drive more slowly and smoothly
2. Lose weight by emptying your boots
3. Turn off the air conditioner
4. Check tires, monitor car maintenance
4. Look for fuel in stores
5. Limit your driving — walk or bike more
Follow the maintenance of your car
As well as mandatory maintenance checks, regular maintenance helps keep your car in top condition and catches early problems that could become more serious later. It also tunes your car to optimize fuel efficiency.
Halfords, whose Mot-oring Club members receive a ten-point inspection, said: “Replacing a clogged air filter, worn spark plugs or old motor oil will help improve your MPG.”
Cycle or walk shorter distances. This will help keep you in shape and save you money.
AA president Edmund King – a keen cyclist – agrees: “The AA has been saying for years that drivers should walk or cycle for short journeys.”
Review your insurance policy
If you don’t drive often, consider short-term car insurance. Or even pay per mile. And if you’re driving fewer miles than you expected, let your insurer know and ask for a discount.
ComparetheMarket.com says almost a fifth of motorists who drive less than 5,000 miles a year could save an average of £123 by switching to a pay-per-mile policy instead of an annual car insurance policy.
Short-term car insurance specialist GoShorty (go shorty.co.uk) offers short-term car insurance policies where you can insure yourself for between one hour and 28 days when you’re carpooling or borrowing a car from a friend or relative. when you need to use it, not all year round.
Switch to electricity
It’s a big investment, but it can save you money in the long run. A pure electric car means you’ll never have to refuel again, although finding free public charging points is an increasingly difficult task if you don’t have one at home.
If you drive reasonably even in a plug-in hybrid for short distances, you may rarely need to visit a gas station.
I’m currently driving a new Vauxhall Grandland Hybrid-e PHEV which gives me about 27 miles of electric-only range – I charge every night – and I’m barely out of electric mode.
However, rising pump prices could lead to unexpected improvements in road safety by encouraging safer driving habits that “potentially save lives”, says road safety charity IAM RoadSmart.
The study shows that many of the UK’s 33 million motorists have already changed their driving habits for the better by driving more slowly or smoothly.
Of the 1,004 motorists surveyed, 72 percent said they had changed the way they traveled because of the sharp rise in fuel costs.
Of these, 38 percent (12.5 million) said they now drive more economically, while almost one in five (19 percent, or 6 million) took extra care to stick to the speed limit.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM Road Smart, said: “Slower and more fuel-efficient driving will no doubt help reduce the pain of the pumps, but another positive effect of this is road safety.”
Research by ComparetheMarket.com found that nearly half of motorists (49 percent) are making fewer journeys, while a third are worried they won’t be able to cover the cost of driving.
Electric Nissan became the car of the year
I first saw the prototype at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 2019.
Now, with the first of more than 2,000 pre-orders in the UK due to be delivered to customers in August and September, Nissan’s new all-electric SUV Ariya has been named Car of the Year at the automotive industry’s Oscars.
The zero-emissions model won the top prize at the prestigious Auto Express Car of the Year award, as well as the best mid-size company car.
Champion: The Nissan Ariya SUV has a range of 329 miles, charges in just 30 minutes and costs from £43,845
British engineers from Nissan’s European team in Cranfield, Beds, played a significant role in the development of the Ariya, which the judges described as “a comfortable ride and superb refinement with impressive handling for a large car”.
Priced from £43,845 and with a range of 329 miles that can be charged in just 30 minutes, the Ariya is Nissan’s second mainstream electric car after the groundbreaking Leaf.
Among other awards, the MG ZS EV was named Affordable Electric Car of the Year, the new all-electric Fiat 500 won Best City Car and the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric was named Best Company Car.
Ford has scored a hat-trick of accolades, with its Ranger named the best pick-up, the E-Transit the best van and its European boss Stuart Rowley named the most influential Briton in the car industry in the Brit List.
The new British Range Rover won the Best Luxury Car category, while the Land Rover Defender was named Best Large Premium SUV. The Oxford-built Mini won the award for best convertible.
The best family car was Dacia Jogger, the station wagon of the year was Skoda Octavia.
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