Five Ways To Improve Your MPG Without Changing Your Driving Style

Filled up recently?

Depressing, isn't it - even without the metronomic tick of old-style mechanical fuel pump numbers, there isn't much joy to see those liquid crystals click ever higher... 40, 50, 60, 70 pounds... and higher.

You may have bought a more economical car to compensate. Some cars on sale today can offer quite amazing economy, both petrol or diesel. But are you making the most of your new car?

The best way of increasing your economy is by changing your driving style slightly. We'll deal with that another time, because the quickest way of saving even a few quid each month is making it easy for the car to offer its best.

We've compiled five tips on how to save just a little more fuel, whatever car you have.

Fuel filler

1. Remove excess weight

It isn't just race cars that benefit from light-weight bodies - road cars do too. New cars are starting to shed the pounds to improve economy, but you can take that a step further yourself.
Try not to carry any weight around you're not likely to need on a regular basis. Prams, kids toys, boxes of files, stock from your business - all of these add a little to the weight of your car - weight your car has to accelerate with, brake with and corner with. What's more, removing loose items may just stop that irritating rattle you notice every journey!
Roof rack

2. Remove exterior fittings

Teams of engineers have worked hard to ensure your car slips through the air as cleanly as possible. Fitting roof racks, auxiliary lights, or little flapping flags to your car can cause a surprising amount of drag, so remove them if they're not needed.
As with the above example, you may even find their removal makes your car a little quieter at speed - high-drag items can result in plenty of wind noise. Your journeys won't just be more efficient, they'll be quieter too.
Tyres

3. Ensure your tyres are correctly inflated

The most basic maintenance you can do to your car, other than keeping it clean, is ensuring your tyres are correctly inflated. You can buy digital pressure gauges for very little money these days, and a check once a week will let you know whether your tyres are in good health - not to mention you can do a quick visual check at the same time.
Correctly inflated tyres will ensure tyre drag is reduced, but it's a safety feature too - tyres at the correct pressure will clear water better on wet roads, and they won't overheat, risking blow-out at higher speeds.
Plan ahead

4. Plan ahead

If you encounter traffic on your daily commute it can really hit your fuel efficiency - an engine running in stationary traffic is essentially doing zero mpg! You may be able to mitigate this, though - is there a different route you can take to work? It may appear longer, but it may also get you there quicker and more efficiently.
The same applies on less regular journeys too. Before a long trip, on holiday for example, check the route before you set off. There could be traffic or road closures which many sat-nav systems may not point out. A moving car is more efficient than a static car.
Stop-start system

5. Turn off that engine!

If all else fails and it looks like you'll be stuck in a queue for a while, consider turning off your engine. Modern cars will happily re-start from hot or cold - this isn't the 1970s when there was little guarantee your car would re-start! The same applies when waiting for trains at level crossings, or even regular junctions where you know the lights will be red for an extended period.
Some cars already do this, as many modern cars are fitted with stop-start systems. It's best to let the system do its thing - the fuel savings can be significant in heavy traffic.
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