Sadly our society has been designed for the car. Outside of the city, public transport is pretty poor especially in rural areas. Even within the town, half the shops have moved into soulless out of town retail parks.
So, practically, many of us need our car. That doesn’t mean we can’t reduce the cost of running it.
Do you need to make the journey? A bit of planning ahead and thought will soon save you the need to run down to the shops.
Is a car really necessary? For very short journeys you can walk or use a bicycle. For slightly longer journeys an electric bicycle or motor scooter will get you there just as fast if not faster and a lot cheaper.
Plan your journey. Avoid driving around like a pin-ball machine. Try to work out the most efficient route between two or three places and home again.
With the price of oil rising almost daily, it is more and more necessary to ensure you get the best mileage per gallon out of your car. A few disciplined routines will assist you in doing this.
Fuel Efficient Driving
- Stay within the speed limit. A discipline indeed, but the faster you drive, the more you’re pulling away, slowing down and speeding up, the more fuel you will use. Not to mention the fine if you get caught and safety.
- On a motorway, driving at 55mph rather than 65mph can save you up to 25% of your costs. Plus that’s only about 10 minutes added to an hour’s drive.
- Avoid unnecessary braking and fast acceleration. This can save you between 5% and 10 % as well.
- Don’t use your car as a second garden shed! There is a habit to leave things in the car, especially heavy one’s. Extra weight in the back will just make your engine do more work and spend more money for you.
- Maintain you car well and on a regular basis. A lot of car costs are simply down to neglect. This can range from not keeping the tyre pressures correct causing extra wear and tear on one or more of the tyres to poor engine maintenance reducing efficiency.
- Changing engine oil frequently will reduce the strain on the engine, keep it internally clean and extend its life, especially if you have a diesel engine.
- Have the engine tuned now and again, a fault in the timing could make the car idle or run at the wrong amount and use more petrol in the process.
- The same appliew to the oil filter, a clean one will effectively keep the everything running smoother and could save 10 per cent of petrol costs.
- Avoid running air conditioning, it eats fuel up. Also avoid driving with the windows open as it increases drag and therefore fuel consumption. Roof racks, even with nothing on them, increase drag as well.
Make a mental note of the cheaper petrol stations. Work out how much you spend weekly and compare accordingly – then calculate your savings over a year. It could be someone’s Christmas present!
Keep the interior clean and maintained. It won’t save you any money on petrol, but the money you sell your car for will be strongly influenced by this.
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