Fuel prices up again? 10 tips that help you save money on fuel for your car

July 17, 2019

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Fuel prices are continually rising. Fortunately, there are at least 10 easy hacks that help you save up on the costs. 

Membership discounts from set fuel prices

Many gas stations have either membership or discount cards. Usually, they give you some cents off the set fuel litre price. For frequent station visitors, like you as a Bolt driver, these cards help to save up big time on a yearly basis.

Steady driving

Traffic jams and slow fellow drivers may get on your nerves. Keeping calm is worth it, as compulsive accelerating and “angry driving” only results in you burning up more fuel.

To be as fuel-efficient as possible, take about 5 seconds to accelerate your vehicle up to 20 km/h from a stop. Imagine having a cup of hot coffee on your dashboard while you put your foot on the pedal – the aim would be not to spill it.

No excessive braking

Likewise to slower acceleration, learn to take advantage of the forward momentum and slow down in a steady manner. Keep your eyes on the road to observe the traffic around you. This way you see the flow and don’t have to push the brakes on the last second to avoid an accident.

Coasting towards a red-light is not only a way to burn less fuel, but also a way to keep your tyres and brakes running smoothly for a longer time. That means less money on repair and maintenance.

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Air conditioning or open windows?

AC has an effect on your car’s fuel consumption. But how big is it?

There’s no single answer to this question. It depends a lot on the age of your car, the size of your engine, the temperature outside, the condition of your AC and even the time you last changed your air filter. Plus many more factors. So, as the fuel prices are going up – should you keep your windows open or the AC working when it’s hot outside to spend less?

To be as economical as possible:

  • Opt for open windows when you’re driving alone at a low speed – yes, this causes drag, but the influence is not as big as with AC on lower speeds
  • Use AC when you have picked up passengers – of course, it’s always worth asking the people in your car if they mind rolled-down windows, they may very well enjoy a nice breeze instead of conditioned air
  • Turn on AC and close the windows when you’re driving with higher speed – when your speed increases, the drag increases as well
  • Don’t keep the AC on at all times – if the temperature has reached your preference, turn the AC off and keep the fans blowing the air around on a low level
  • Keep your car in order – change the air filters and oil regularly, ensure your refrigerant levels are on the right level

Please, don’t cool down your car to freezing temperatures, when it’s hot outside. It’s a one-way ticket to catching a cold.

Time the fuelling-up

Never drive until your fuel tank is absolutely empty.

Doing so, you cut yourself short on choices of where to fill it up, as you may end up near a station with the highest fuel prices in town. Plan ahead.

Buy early or late in the day

Physics lesson. On warmer months, it’s reasonable to buy fuel on the cooler hours of the day – either early mornings or late nights. Fuel density falls when the temperature rises, so you’ll be getting less of it when it’s hot outside.

Fuel prices up again? 10 tips that help you save money on fuel for your car

Don’t leave the engine running

This is not only about the consumption of fuel. It’s also about our environment.

When you’ve stayed put for over a minute, turn off the engine. Contrary to popular belief, restarting your car does not burn more fuel than leaving it idling. In fact, idling for just 10 seconds wastes more fuel than restarting the engine.

Talking about wasting, fuel consumption has a big effect on our air quality. The CO2 emission of an average car using petrol or diesel is more than 200 g/km. With fuel prices and world pollution level rising constantly, it creates another reason to stop the engine, when you’re actually not going anywhere.

Keep your car in order

When was the last time you checked the pressure level in your tyres? When your car tyres don’t have enough air in them, their rolling resistance is dramatically increased and it simply takes more fuel to drive. You can use the air pressure pumps for free in any petrol stations, go check. PS! The information about the correct pressure level is usually located on the door of the driver.

Also, make sure your car engine is in order and air filters are clean. Use proper engine oil and take your car to regular mechanical checkups. You can read more about car maintenance from 7 things every driver should know about their car.

Pick your routes

Both Waze and Google Maps show you multiple routes to reach your destination. Choose the recommended one (unless, of course, you know from experience that it will lead you directly to roadblocks, medieval-like streets full of holes or traffic jams).

You can also plan your routes by mapping the stations with the best fuel prices in town. When finishing your ride near them, go and fill the tank up.

Fuel-efficient car

The demand for more economical cars is on the rise. That means there are more options to choose from and the prices are lower than a decade ago.

Cars like Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius are known for their reasonable price and fuel consumption. Hybrids are also becoming a more common choice, with Toyota Corolla Hybrid and Hyundai Ionic taking the best choice award amongst them in 2019.

Fuel prices up again? 10 tips that help you save money on fuel for your car

Key takeaways

  • Drive steady and plan ahead. Unnecessary accelerating and braking increase the fuel consumption of your car. Driving until your tank is completely empty doesn’t leave you any choice between different stations with different fuel prices.
  • Be reasonable with the AC. When you’re driving slow, open the windows. When you’re going faster, use the AC. Being economical means having a balance between those two options. 
  • Don’t idle. When you plan to stay put for over a minute, turn off the engine. Restarting the car will burn less engine than keeping it running while parking.
  • Take regular care of your car. Engine health, air filter cleanliness, right motor oil, tyre pressure – all of these have an effect on your car’s fuel consumption.
  • Choose an economical vehicle. The variety of fuel-efficient cars is on the rise, which thankfully means their prices are dropping. Choose a car good for your budget and the environment.

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