This is a fab guest post by Tuppeny, a UK Money Blogger. Her bio is below. I’ve certainly learnt a lot and I know you will too. You’ll also save some money!
7 simple tips to save money on your fuel costs
The cost of fuel has jumped in recent weeks yet the majority of us are reliant upon our car to get about if we don’t live in a large city. When public transport isn’t an option your car is your lifeline to get to work, get your kids to school or their clubs.
You have to fill up with fuel and it can sometimes feel like you are pouring money into your tank rather than petrol. If you fill your tank up these days it can quickly reach £50 and you know that’s not going to last that long. I can easily go through 2 full tanks of fuel every month so when the prices jump my budget really notices it.
The environmental angle
If you are looking to save money you may well call yourself frugal. Being frugal is not just about saving money, it’s about living a more deliberate life. Spending and consuming only what you feel is necessary. Frugal dovetails very easily into being eco-friendly and wanting to do your bit to look after the environment. We all know driving a car is not eco-friendly but some of the tips below will help you do a little bit for the environment.
Avoid the rush hour
The rush hour is badly named, as it’s less about rushing and more about being stationary or slow moving. You use more fuel in rush hour due to all the stop & starting, acceleration and braking. Rush hour driving is not great for the environment due to all the fumes it generates in a small area.
My car has a mileage meter which I used to reset after each fill up to see how many miles I get from one tank of fuel. If I did mainly around town driving including rush hour, my miles per tank were significantly lower than if I did the same miles on a long trip. I no longer do this due to the tip below.
½ a tank
The weight of your car affects your fuel efficiency. Carrying around a full tank of fuel adds a lot of weight to your car. Did you know seasoned taxi drivers never fill their tank up more than ½ way? They know they’ll get better fuel economy out of their ½ tank than if they filled up every time.
The average fuel tank for a British/European car is:
- 60-70 litres
- 13–15 UK gallons
- 16-18 US gallons very approx
Have you ever tried carrying a gallon bucket of water? Add another 6 gallons and you can understand taxi drivers’ thinking.
Extra storage option
Do you use your car as an easy, extra storage option? Do you leave welly boots, walking boots, coats and boxes that never make it to the recycling centre in your car boot? Not just me then!
Following the same principle as not filling your fuel tank, don’t use your car as extra storage. Weight drags down your fuel economy and means you’ll have to fill up more often costing you more money. Keep your carrying weight to a minimum and lighten your load.
Combine your trips
Plan ahead and combine more of your trips in one outing in your car. When your engine warms up it becomes more efficient. Lots of separate trips where you are starting your car from cold uses more fuel. Additionally, you’ll end up covering more miles so increasing your fuel costs. By reducing the miles you drive each week you are taking an eco-friendly approach to your travel which can’t be a bad thing.
Use a cashback credit card
Paying for your petrol/diesel is not something you have a choice over really. If you want to drive your car you need to pay for your fuel. Fuel costs can really eat into your monthly budget so why not get a small return on that cost? Use a cashback credit card for all your fuel purchases.
You can get 0.5% to 1% in cashback on a number of credit cards. If you spend £200 a month on fuel then over the year you could earn £24 in cashback on a 1% card. That’s £24 for nothing as you are buying the fuel anyway.
Important – always pay your credit card off in full every month otherwise you’ll pay more in interest than you receive in cashback.
Find the cheapest fuel
You already know where the cheapest petrol station is in your home location and I hope you are using it. But what about when you are away from home and need to fill up? You don’t want to be caught paying motorway service station prices, at up to 20p a litre more! Use petrolprices.com or confused.com to find cheap prices wherever you are in the UK.
Combine cheap petrol stations and cashback cards
Supermarket petrol stations are among the cheaper options to fill up. Most of the supermarkets have loyalty schemes as well which can increase the savings you make when you fill up.
Asda’s credit card gives you 1% cashback on all spending at their own fuel stations (and shops) and happens to be the cheapest for fuel in my area. I always fill up at Asda by planning ahead to ensure I don’t run out of fuel away from home.
Morrisons’ More card gives you 5 points per litre when you fill up at their petrol stations. You get a free £5 voucher once you reach 5,000 points. If you were going to purchase your fuel there anyway because they are your cheapest petrol station then grab yourself a loyalty card and earn those points. Even if you don’t shop there.
Sainsbury’s reward you with Nectar points, 1 for every litre, when you fill up at their own petrol stations.
Combining all of these tips will help you reduce your fuel costs. For additional savings have you heard about hypermiling? Hypermiling is a style of driving which makes the best use of your car’s momentum and less use of your brakes. Summed up best as:
If you have to brake, you’ve made a mistake
It takes practice and patience to convert your driving style but with the potential to save 20% on your fuel costs you might want to consider it. Martin Lewis from Moneysavingexpert explains here the results of his experiment.
I hope you save some money!
I started life as a teenage single mum without tuppence to rub together and spent many years not much better off. Throughout my life, I have at times, saved hard, spent too much, made mistakes and worked my way back out of them. On my blog tuppennysfireplace.com I talk about living the frugal life and saving enough to retire early. We are on track to retire within 2 years and I can’t wait!
Was this a great post or what? Thanks so much to Tuppeny for this wise old post.
What are your best fuel or car saving tips? Share with us in the comments box below.