Running a car isn’t cheap. Once you’ve paid for the vehicle itself, along with car insurance and tax, there’s the not so small issue of fuelling it. Have you taken any steps to make your fuel go further?
As a car journalist, covering many miles at the wheel of a car every week is part of my job. It’s important for the Which? Cars team to spend enough time driving each test car on a wide range of roads and traffic conditions, so that we can include the pros and cons of each in our reviews. And that means spending a lot of money on fuel.
That’s not done without thought, though. Whenever possible I’ll drive to the cheapest garage in the area to buy a tankful. I won’t rack up extra miles by going out of my way to use a cheaper filling station, but I will plan ahead and fill up in cheaper spots – Surrey is pricier than south east London, so I’ll stop on the way through.
Save fuel by driving more efficiently
When it comes to driving my own car, I’ve become far more conscious of the fuel economy I’m achieving in the past few years. I keep the boot as empty as possible, and check tyre pressures regularly.
In general my 1.2 petrol Renault Modus is quite frugal – it averages 45-50mpg. But that little engine struggles and has to be worked hard at motorway speed. And that means it drinks far more fuel: around 35mpg at 70mph, compared with 55mpg at 56mph.
So when I had to make twice weekly trips around the M25 three weeks in a row, I soon found myself pulling into the slow lane to stop the fuel gauge dipping quite so quickly. Driving slower than most of the other traffic around me was far more demanding, and at times extremely scary, especially when HGVs pulled up close behind wanting me to speed up rather than make them change lanes to overtake me.
I persevered, but only for the sake of my bank balance. If I’d not been concerned about the cost of fuel, I would have been sorely tempted to speed up so I’d have to make far fewer lane changes and speed past the juggernauts rather than have to dice with them.
Have you taken any measures to cut your fuel consumption, or reduced the number of miles you cover to save money?