Since the petrol crisis you may have been looking at ways to make your fuel go further. Here’s a selection of tips – and if you’ve made the switch to an electric car, we’ve some ideas for preserving your range too.
Tighten your fuel cap
A simple but effective way to gain some extra mileage is to make sure your cap is on tight after filling the tank. Like all liquids, petrol and diesel evaporate when hot and if the cap isn’t airtight, you’re bound to lose some valuable fuel. Taking the time to double check this can make all the difference.
Keep your windows closed
Open windows could be another reason you just aren’t getting the mileage out of your tank. Being aerodynamic is more important than you think and open windows at higher speeds creates a drag resulting in a less efficient vehicle.
It’s not just open windows that attract wind resistance and create a drag. Added weight can impact your tank efficiency too. The heavier the vehicle the more fuel used. If you can manage without roof racks, trailers and a full boot this can be extremely helpful in saving money and reducing consumption.
Only if safe to do so, turn off the engine if you have been stationary for longer than a minute. Coming to a standstill with the engine left running not only burns up fuel but is a huge contributor to air pollution too. To sustain a lower fuel usage, the key is to be strict and economical.
Maintain proper air pressure in your tyres
Having good air pressure in your tyres not only makes them last longer – it also improves fuel efficiency. Legally, tyre tread depth must be at least 1.6mm but aim for two to three millimetres to be on the safe side. It’s good practice to regularly check all the tyres on your car for tread depth and general wear and tear, and ensure they’re pumped at the correct pressure.
Driving less frequently – could you walk, for example, or take the train? – will reduce your individual energy use and is much better for the environment.
Optimising the range of an electric car
The bigger the battery in your car, the further it will go before it needs recharging. When buying an electric car, you’ll likely get a choice as to which battery size you’d like. If you can stand the cost, opt for the bigger battery. A 40kWh battery will give you a typical range of 168 miles, but a 62kWh battery will typically give you 239 miles.
Charge the battery properly
Optimising the charge of your car’s battery will help prolong its life. Charge the battery to 80% of capacity for most journeys – it’ll be faster to get it to charge to this point with the remaining 20% of charge being much slower. Only charge the battery to its maximum capacity when you’ll definitely need to make use of it.
Plan routes well
Motorways and dual carriageways might be quick, but high speeds mean more energy use. Ask your sat-nav to plan you a more efficient route instead – it might take longer to get from A to B, but you’ll use less energy and reduce the need for a top-up on route.