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Avoid the Queues - Five Ways to Save on Fuel in a Petrol Crisis

Posted: 29/03/2012 11:18

There's been panic at the pumps this week as motorists flock to stock up on fuel in anticipation of a possible tanker driver strike in the next few weeks. The government has advised drivers to take sensible precautions to prepare for the impact of a strike, so aside from dashing to your local forecourts, what are the options for drivers looking to keep their fuel gauges out of the red?

Strike or no strike, with petrol prices on the rise, already over £1.40 per litre, there's never been a better time for credit conscious motorists to learn how to get the most out of those petrol tanks:

1) Smooth driving - No sudden moves

Aggressive driving can lower your mileage by approximately 33% on motorways and 5% in the city. Braking and accelerating harshly is an easy way to quickly drain your fuel tank. To get the most from your tank try to drive more smoothly. If you see a junction coming up, ease of accelerator early and start changing down through the gears and the car will slow naturally and use less fuel.

2) Tyres - Keep Them Pumped

It may sound small, but correctly inflated tyres improve mileage by an average of four per cent. Your tyres should be checked once per month for safety anyway and your optimum tyre pressure can be found in your car manufacturer's handbook. To get the most accurate reading check your tyres when they are cold, tyres fresh from the road will be hot, which alters capacity and pressure.

3) Slow Down - Cut the Revs

According to the Department for Transport, driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. More speed means more revs, lower fuel economy and ultimately a lighter wallet. Speeds in excess of 60mph make your fuel tank work overtime; the faster you go the more you lose so slow down.

4) Before your set off - Get 'The Knowledge'

There are over 80 road traffic incidents in London alone every day. The shortest path to your destination or your favourite route is not always the most economical, so make sure you check traffic conditions before you set off. An easy way to do this is by downloading a free traffic app to your phone in seconds. Apps like INRIX Traffic not only give you a real-time snapshot of current traffic conditions, but also allow drivers to see traffic conditions up to eight hours in advance. Like a traffic crystal ball, smartphone apps can help you better plan trips for optimal departure times, letting you see in advance which routes are jammed and limiting the time spend idle in traffic.

5) Radio - more than just music

Stopping and starting in low gears in traffic is one of the most fuel intensive drains on your tank. Avoiding traffic jams is key to conserving fuel and as every commuter knows, it only takes minutes for congestion to build and turn a breezy drive into a sluggish journey. Unless your Sat Nav adjusts your route based on real time traffic patterns then don't assume it's providing you with the most economical route to your destination. Ensure your radio is set up to receive traffic reports, to give you information on the latest incidents whilst you are on the move.