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May 23

Improving Your Car’s Fuel Efficiency

VAT increases, fuel duty rises, increases in the wholesale cost of energy and now threats of industrial action by fuel tanker drivers – it can sometimes seem that Britain’s motorists are coming under attack from every possible angle. Anyone who drives won’t have been able to avoid noticing that the price of fuel has continued to rise significantly over recent years. April figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change show that pump prices in the UK hit another high – £1.42 for a litre of unleaded petrol.

The figures also revealed that prices in other European countries are even higher than they are in Britain – bad news for any drivers planning on taking a motoring holiday abroad. In Italy for example, the cost of a litre of petrol is now £1.58p, just one penny short of the cost of a litre in Denmark, currently the most expensive place in Europe to buy petrol. Anyone looking for the cheapest place to fill up their tank needs to head over to Romania, where the cost of a litre is £1.12p.

And while there are no magic ways to fill up your tank without forking out, there are a few ways that you can make sure your fuel lasts as long as possible. Here are a few ideas for you:

Forget the racing starts
Speeding off from the traffic lights and pretending to be Michael Schumacher can be great fun, but it won’t do much for the level of fuel in your tank. Revving the engine and changing gear at high revs is a great way to go through your petrol in no time at all.

Don’t fill up on the motorway!
It is often the case that you will find the most expensive fuel prices on the motorway and so it pays to make sure that you think about your fuel stops before you make a long journey. There are now websites where you can see which petrol stations in your area have the cheapest fuel – use them if you want to be sure of getting the best deal.

Don’t put your foot down going uphill
Driving up hills can take it out of your engine, and putting your foot down when you are three-quarters of the way up, and your old Ford Fiesta is beginning to feel the strain, can take it out of your petrol reserves. Think ahead and get up to a reasonable speed before you start ascending the hill, then as your vehicle gets into the climb, ease the pressure on the accelerator pedal in order to maintain a steady speed and change down a gear if required.

Check your tyres
Remember that underinflated tyres can seriously hurt the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Make sure that you have the right pressure in your tyres – you’ll be able to check how much air they should have in them by looking in the vehicle’s handbook, or for a sticker that is usually located on the driver’s door.

Jaimy Howard is a freelance writer who specialises in Peugeot car finance and car finance online.

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