How to Reduce Your Vehicle Running Costs
There are a number of things you can do to lower your running costs; this can include ideas that reduce your fuel bills, as well those that save wear and tear on your car and those that help share the costs.
1. Pick the Right Time to Travel
Try to avoid the busiest time of day if at all possible; a journey taken at a quiet time of day could take half the time of the same trip in rush hour. Not only will this save you time and money, but will also help to reduce pollution.
2. Keep your Car in Good Condition
Keeping your car well-maintained will help it to run more efficiently. Make sure that you book it in for all its regular services and keep an eye on your tyre pressures and on all the fluid levels. Having a record of regular servicing will also help to maintain your car's value when you come to sell it.
3. Share Your Car
If you have enough space to carry a passenger, why not think about sharing journeys with friends and colleagues. The majority of people drive on their own, which is a huge waste of time, effort, fuel and money. If you do not know of anyone that you could share with, consider joining an official car-share scheme.
4. Lower Your Fuel Consumption
- Try to consider fuel economy when choosing your car. By selecting a fuel efficient vehicle, you could save over £600 a year.
- Take a look at the routes that you frequently take, such as your drive to work or the school run. Although a less congested route may add miles to your journey, it will cut pounds of your fuel bill by reducing the amount of stop-start driving.
- Avoid leaving your engine running when you first start up. Drive away as soon as you can, taking things gently until the engine has reached its normal operating temperature.
- Stick to the speed limit and drive as smoothly as you can, avoiding heavy braking and sharp acceleration. Not only will this reduce wear and tear on your car, but it could save you up to 30% on your fuel costs.
- Always ensure that your tyres are at the correct pressure; driving with under-inflated tyres can add up to 2% to your fuel costs.
- Accelerate smoothly through the gears to your desired speed and then stick to the highest gear possible without labouring the engine. You should aim to keep the engine speed to between 2,000 rpm and 3,000 rpm. It is estimated that a car travelling at a speed of 37 mph in 3rd gear uses 25% more fuel than when at the same speed in 5th gear.
- Keep your car well maintained. Blocked and dirty air filters can seriously reduce your fuel economy, as can a dirty engine, so it's worth checking and changing your air filters and oil regularly.
- Turn off any unnecessary equipment, such as the stereo, rear demisters and air-conditioning. Using the air vents instead of the air-conditioning could reduce your consumption by about 10%.
- Do not carry anything in your car that you don't need, such as unnecessary items in your boot; the lighter the load, the lower the fuel consumption and emissions.
- If your car has a roof rack, bike rack or roof box, make sure that you remove it when it's not in use. This will improve your car's aerodynamics and fuel economy, as will shutting your windows and sunroof.
- Using your car's cruise control on long journeys will help to reduce stress and fatigue, and will also help you to save on fuel.
- If you're stuck in traffic for more than a minute, switch off your engine if it is safe to do so.
5. Join a Car Pool
You could help reduce the number of cars on our roads AND reduce your driving costs by joining a car-pooling club. Ideal for those people who drive only occasionally, this type of club involves a group of people who club together to share a pool of cars. You may pay annually or per use, free from the worries of ownership, depreciation and servicing.