Despite the 5p cut in fuel duty announced in last week’s Spring Statement, the cost of motoring is higher than ever.

Prices at the pump have skyrocketed in recent months, with the average price of unleaded petrol reaching more than 155p per litre earlier this month, according to data firm Experian Catalist.

So it has never been more important to stretch that precious tank of fuel as far as you can.

With this in mind, motoring marketplace CarShop has shared 12 driving and car maintenance hacks that increase fuel efficiency – some by up to 25% - which could save you hundreds of pounds over the course of a year.

Peeblesshire News: CarShop has come up with 12 tips to make your fuel take you further. Picture: PACarShop has come up with 12 tips to make your fuel take you further. Picture: PA

Tips for saving fuel

1. Make sure you have the correct tyre pressure

Underinflated and overinflated tyres are not only dangerous, but also waste fuel. Tyres generally lose up to two pounds of air per month, so check their pressure every couple of weeks.

Research shows that if tyres are under-inflated by 20% - or around 6psi – up to 10% more fuel is used, which costs £1.05 for every 50 miles driven. So, just by checking them regularly, drivers can save almost £200 over the year based on UK average mileage.

2. Cut down on the electrics

If you don’t need your air conditioning, rear window heater, demister fan and headlights, turn them off.

In-car air conditioning uses up to 1 litre of fuel every 60 miles travelled and costs £1.80 for an average diesel car and £1.67 for petrol powered. Making this small change can save more than £200 a year.

3. Maintain your vehicle

Regular maintenance and servicing improve a vehicle’s efficiency and considerably improves its fuel consumption.

Statistics show that fuel savings of up to 10% can be made by replacing a blocked air filter, worn spark plugs or old engine oil and will also help to retain its value when you come to sell.

By doing so, you could save yourself up to 63p on every 30 miles you travel – or £147 a year based on UK average annual mileage.

4. Don’t start the engine until you’re ready to go

It’s a real waste of fuel and your engine warms up more quickly when you’re moving anyway. So, set your sat nav, check the traffic, make that call and read those messages before starting your engine.

Idling can use up to two litres of fuel per hour, emitting over 5.26kg of CO2. This costs around £3.20 an hour, on average, for petrol cars and a little bit more – £3.40 – for diesel.

And, if your car is equipped with a stop start system, make sure it’s turned on to conserve fuel whilst stationary.

5. Brake and accelerate less

Both burn fuel, so try to drive smoothly. Accelerate gently and read the traffic situation ahead to avoid unnecessary braking. Roll up slowly for traffic lights or queues to avoid having to stop completely and coast to a stop rather than slamming on the brakes.

Aggressive accelerating and braking can use up to 60% more fuel, which quickly makes every journey much more costly.

6. Plan your journey

Getting lost wastes fuel – not to mention causes some in-car tension – so enter address details in your sat nav and check out the route before setting off. It’s also worth listening to traffic news too. A 10-mile detour while trying to find your bearings, can cost more than £2.

Sitting in traffic jams is also costly, so avoid them by planning your journey and checking for updates en route. The average car burns two litres of fuel an hour in traffic jams – costing around £3.25 on average for unleaded cars and £3.60 for diesel.

7. Keep your car aerodynamic

Roof racks and boxes all add to fuel consumption - as do open windows and sunroofs - so pack carefully and remove them when not in use.

Driving with a roof box uses up to 25% more fuel than without by impacting its aerodynamics – costing £3.15 more over a 100-mile journey. Even an empty roof rack uses up to 15% more fuel.

8. Declutter your car

Less weight means less fuel, so if you don’t need what’s in your boot, take it out. Just remember to leave in any safety equipment.

9. Use the right specification of engine oil to improve efficiency

Check your vehicle handbook to see what that is. Modern engines are built with finer tolerances and therefore require oils with lower viscosity that can also improve fuel economy by around 3%. That’s more than 26p per 50-mile journey in an average diesel car.

10. Turn on Eco mode

It reduces throttle responsiveness and engine power output so uses less fuel.

On automatic cars, it will also shift up earlier to keep the vehicle in the most economical gear which is calculated from the engine load.

You can save around 5% of fuel by doing so – that’s 52p for an average diesel car on a 50-mile journey, and slightly less for a petrol-powered motor.

11. Combine short trips

Cold starts use more fuel, so combine trips and errands if you can. 

Where possible, make one round trip rather than several short ones to avoid starting the engine from cold too many times.

Cold engines will generally use twice as much fuel as a warm engine.

12. Walk or cycle

If you’re only travelling a mile or so, do you really need to use the car? The fresh air and exercise will do you good.

CarShop’s Ben Scholes said: “After weeks of record highs at the pumps, we welcome the cut on petrol and diesel duty, but it doesn’t go far enough.

“It’s more important than ever to consider how we drive and maintain our motors too. Just a few changes to how we drive – and how we look after our cars – can save us a pretty penny on fuel costs over time. And, let’s face it, this has never been more important.”

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