How To Save Fuel When You Drive

This page deals mainly with how to save fuel when you drive.

This is one of the several pages that make up our 'Motoring' section and is probably one of the most important considering the continuing rise in fuel prices.

This is instanced by some lessening of the traffic on our roads.

Our next page on cars is devoted to Tyres and the last Cars New and Used, which covers any many driving related topics.

Make use of all the pages in between as some cover very unusual subjects.

We have received a 'straight-from-the-horses-mouth' tip on buying fuel and getting the most for your money, i.e., how to save fuel when you drive. We pass it on FWIW.


Here are some tricks to get more of your money's worth for every litre.

Only buy fuel in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold.

Remember that all Service Stations have their storage tanks buried beneath the ground. The colder the ground the more dense the fuel. When it gets warmer petrol expands, so buying in the afternoon or evening .......... your litre is not exactly a litre. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the petrol, diesel, jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products play an important role. A one degree rise in temperature is a big deal in this business but the Service Stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.

When you are filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode.

If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages; low, middle and high. In slow mode you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimising the vapours that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapour return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes into your tank becomes vapour. Those vapours are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you're getting less worth for your money.

One of the most important tips is to fill up when your tank is HALF FULL.

The reason for this is, the more fuel you have in you tank, the less air occupying its empty space. Petrol evaporates faster than you can imagine. Petroleum storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between petrol and the atmosphere, so it minimises the evaporation. Unlike Service Stations, here where I work, every truck that we load is temperature compensated so that every litre is actually the exact amount.

Another reminder. If there is a fuel truck pumping into storage tanks when you stop to buy, DO NOT FILL UP. Most likely the petrol/diesel is being stirred up as the fuel is being delivered and you might pick up some dirt that normally settles on the bottom.

Hope this will help you get the most value for your money and save fuel.

Remember to always fill your tank when the indicator shows 'half'.
Always fill up in the early morning.
Always fill up in slow mode.

Try these tips on how to save fuel when you drive and see how you get on.

More on How to Save Fuel When You Drive for you:

1. Drive economically. Leave a good distance between you and the car in front of you. This will mean less braking and accelerating. Don't press down heavily on the accelerator, this burns more money.

Aviva recommends changing gear at 2,000 revs. for diesel cars and 2,500 for petrol vehicles - this advice is spot on!

If you are stuck in traffic, switch off your engine when safe to do so. Also, remember each time you change gear you use extra fuel. The aim here is learning how to save fuel when you drive.

2. Use your air conditioning less when you’re driving at low speeds and more at high speeds. If you’re going a short distance it’s recommended that you roll down your window to stay cool. At high speeds, open windows create a drag and reduce your gas mileage, so it’s actually cheaper to use air conditioning on motorways. Turn it off a few minutes before you get to your destination.

3. Always check your spark plugs and tyre pressure. Unclean spark plugs can use more gas, and vehicles operating on under pressure tyres will do the same thing. Learn how to save fuel when you drive.

4. Simple but effective - Use the recommended grade of motor oil. Using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil can improve your gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent.

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5. Don’t leave your engine running unnecessarily. Drive off as soon as you start up and switch off as soon as you arrive at your destination. Save fuel here.

6. Read the driver's manual supplied with your vehicle to check the optimum speed for your car. Travel at this speed and you will save fuel. Let the boy-racers speed past you. They are wasting expensive fuel - you are learning how to save fuel when you drive.

7. On the subject of speed, one sure way to save money is to avoid collecting speeding tickets. We don't wish to preach, but this is a fools game that could end up with tragic results.

8. If you buy your petrol from Morrisons' Supermarkets, ask the cashier for a Petrol Card. You will collect points on this card each time you buy petrol, and as soon as your total reaches a value of £5 you will be given a voucher for £5.00 to be spent in the store. Shell garages also operate a similar scheme.

9. If you have just changed your vehicle and now need to refuel with diesel instead of petrol, either make or buy a sticker which says 'Diesel' and stick it on the petrol filler cap. If you do make a mistake, don't even attempt to start your car - you will damage the engine - but seek help immediately.

At the best it will involve towing away your car, pumping out the tank and flushing it through, costing over £100. At the worst, and you start your engine, you are likely to have a bill for several thousand pounds. Take care - look for the correct pump. Learn how to save fuel when you drive - making sure it is the right fuel!

10. Another one for UK drivers. If you have one of the 'new' photo card driving licences and you fail to renew it, you are likely to be fined £1,000. When these licences were first introduced most people assumed they were for life. Not so. They need to be renewed every ten years. The renewal date is stated on the card, but it is in quite small print. Take a look to be on the safe side. The licences cost £17.50 each to renew. Remember not to use your credit card when renewing your licence as this will cost you an additional £2.50.

If you receive a demand for a new photograph and you hold a passport, the DVLA website says it can now copy your latest image held by the Passport Agency.

11. Mintel Research states that 140 million gallons of petrol eveporates into the atmosphere a year through people not having tight enough petrol caps. Learn how to save fuel when you drive.

12. To save fuel, if you have to visit a new destination, make use of one of the many route finding web sites.


This will probably save time, your temper and money.

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