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How to keep you fuel bills down

With all the news about the potential fixing of fuel prices by some of the giant oil companies, much of our attention is on the price of fuel. Saving money on fuel is not just about the pump price though and there are many ways to help your motoring finances by keeping your fuel bills down.

With all the news about the potential fixing of fuel prices by some of the giant oil companies, much of our attention is on the price of fuel. Saving money on fuel is not just about the pump price though and there are many ways to help your motoring finances by keeping your fuel bills down. Apart from buying the car itself, fuel is for most people the biggest motoring expense. You can of course switch to a smaller and more frugal modern car, but there are still other ways you can reduce your bills.

The first and most obvious thing to do is to shop around. Prices vary widely even in local areas but the supermarket forecourts are usually the best place to find the cheapest fuel. Don't get carried away in your search though, driving more than a few miles to find cheaper fuel will probably result in you burning any savings on the longer journey. The service stations to avoid are the ones situated on motorways and busy trunk roads, where prices are an average of 7.5p per litre higher. This has led to proposed legislation which will force motorway service stations to display their prices to drivers before they leave the carriageway.

Aside from shopping around, the best way to save money on fuel is to change the way you drive. Try to avoid accelerating and decelerating hard and reduce your speed just a little on motorway journeys to save a substantial amount of fuel. Make sure to check in the back and in the boot and remove any unnecessary items. Lugging that stuff around costs you in wasted fuel. Also remove roof racks and roof stowage boxes when not in use and keep tyres at the correct pressures to reduce drag and save fuel.

You might know that air conditioning uses up a lot of fuel, but open windows waste even more. Keep the windows shut and your heater turned down to minimum but don't use the air conditioning unless it is really necessary, which in Britain is not that often. It also makes sense to plan your journey whenever possible. Sitting in queues or in traffic jams wastes fuel and you are more likely to become frustrated and start hitting those accelerator and brake pedals. Your car engine works most efficiently at steady speeds, so try to drive when traffic is light and stick to roads that are free-flowing. Finally, only fill up with as much fuel as you need and keep in high gear whenever possible.
 

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