How to Get Better Fuel Economy #AskCarzone
Regardless of the price of fuel (and that’s a volatile thing, as we know), nobody wants to use more of it than is necessary.
That applies whether you’re driving a petrol car, a diesel car, one that runs on old chip fat or even a fully electric vehicle. They all require fuel of some description and you can take several easy steps to reduce your fuel costs throughout the year.
Carzone expert Ailish talks us through how we can get better value for money.
1 – Tyre pressures
This is undoubtedly the place to start as the air pressure in your tyres has a huge bearing on fuel consumption. Underinflated tyres cause extra drag between the tyre and the road, which means worse fuel economy. So check your tyre pressures regularly (we’d recommend every time you fill up the tank) and keep them within specification. Don’t be tempted to overinflate the tyres either as you increase the risk of a puncture or blow-out at speed, which could prove very costly indeed, never mind the danger aspect.
On a similar note, get any vibrations through the steering wheel seen to right away. It may be simply a wheel out of balance, but that can actually cause drag too, so it’s worth sorting out.
2 – Ditch the weight
If you’re like most people, you have loads of things in your car that you don’t strictly need to be there all the time. You probably don’t realise that every gram of weight added to your car means more fuel used. So take a look. Do you drive your car to and from work with three bulky child seats in the back all week, which don’t get used until the weekend? Take them out. Golf clubs in the boot? Put them in the shed. A bag of compost you bought in Aldi on offer two months ago? Time to use it… You get the idea.
Anything that causes aerodynamic drag that isn’t needed on a daily basis should be removed too, such as roof racks, bars, boxes and bike carriers.
3 – Keep your engine on song
Gone are the days of tuning up carburettors to run properly, but engines still need maintenance so don’t scrimp on servicing. The important items that affect fuel consumption include the air filter, the fuel filter and the oil itself. Change or check the state of these regularly. A simple way to keep an eye on your car’s condition is to measure the fuel consumption of each tank of fuel you use (don’t rely on the digital readout if your car has that facility) and keep a record of it so you can spot if it’s worsening for no apparent reason. That’s a sure sign that something is amiss.
4 – Drive like a saint
Your driving style probably has the largest impact on your car’s fuel consumption so take a cold hard look at how you drive and think about how you could improve. Do you accelerate quickly away from traffic lights and then find yourself using the brakes hard at the next set? Do you never bother using sixth gear? With a little forward vision you could have eased off the power earlier (saving fuel) and slowed in a smoother fashion. And it’s not a race… If you find it difficult to maintain your speed at a constant on the motorway it’s worth using cruise control. And we know everyone drives at ‘a little over’ the limit, but every km/h you reduce your speed by will pay dividends when it comes to how far you’ll travel on a tank of fuel.
5 – Don’t drive!
Ok, that’s a bit radical, but many of us take unnecessary trips in the car on a daily basis that all use fuel. Why not walk to the shops? Or use your bike? Or hold off going into town until you have a few jobs to do at once there. Small changes to your driving habits could have a big payback when it comes to your monthly fuel bill. Likewise, when you’re driving, plan your route to avoid heavy traffic and if you’re going somewhere new, plan ahead so you don’t waste fuel driving around lost…
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Was it the least amount of money I would have to spend on a 2012 Golf if paying it back monthly – how long would it take me to have it paid in full?
That very much depends on different factors such as the mileage, condition, fuel type and specification of the Golf you are looking for. There are 163 2012 Volkswagen Golfs for sale on Carzone right now and they vary in price from €8,500 up to €24,000. It would also depend on how quickly you plan to pay the finance back. It may seem cheaper in the short term to choose a 5-year loan but a 3- year loan works out more cost effective as you are paying less interest.