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Driving Hacks That Help You Use Less Petrol

New research claims that British motorists are collectively wasting £700 million a year in petrol money because of the way they drive – and this might include you.


Barclaycard’s Fuel+ report estimates that more than a third of motorists are burning 636 million litres of petrol unnecessarily through bad habits. Making a few practical changes to the way we drive will lead to immediate fuel savings – good for your pocket, and good for the environment.

Are you the type to waste money?

  • All age groups – 36% of drivers polled by Barclaycard said they do not use any eco or money-saving driving techniques
  • Over 65s – 55% of this age group admitted they don’t drive in ways that might save fuel
  • 44-64 year olds – 44% said they do not drive ways that might save fuel
  • 17-24 year olds – 89% claimed to ‘consciously’ use multiple fuel-efficient driving techniques

The most expensive, fuel-guzzling sins

  • Using the clutch (not handbrake) and revving the engine at red lights
  • Keeping engines running when stationary
  • Accelerating when approaching red lights
  • Using the air conditioning unnecessarily
  • Speeding

Sarah Sillars, Chief Executive of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said that a more conscientious driving style could encourage fuel savings of around 10%, and improve wear and tear on vehicles. Research undertaken by the AA in October 2014, however, found that some AA employees that took part saved as much as 33%.

Hack your driving techniques

Being light-footed on the accelerator, avoiding using electrical features that increase fuel consumption, and improving the aerodynamics and performance of your vehicle will help you save money.

  1. Use your handbrake at traffic lights and in traffic jams
  2. Plot the most fuel-effective route for your journey by satnav
  3. Only use the air-con or heating when necessary
  4. Use the correct gears for your speed
  5. Remove roof racks and boxes when not in use
  6. Check your tyre pressure and oil regularly
  7. Keep your sun roof and windows closed
  8. Use cruise control when appropriate
  9. Accelerate and decelerate smoothly
  10. Turn off your headlights during the day
  11. Be mindful of your speed

Fuel consumption and speed

The AA has published this data for fuel consumption with regard to cruising speed:

  • 70mph uses up to 15% more than at 50mph
  • 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph
  • 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph

So while petrol and diesel prices have fallen slightly in the last couple of months, there’s a lot more you can do (with little effort) to ease the stress of running your car.

If you’re interested in using your car to its full potential, see our 10 Car Life Hacks blog.