How to get the best fuel efficiency from a litre of petrol - close-up of petrol tank being filled

How to get the best fuel efficiency out of a litre of petrol

Are rising costs putting fuel efficiency on your radar?

With the cost of living rising fast, we’re seeing the price of fuel per litre rising at the pump. In this post we look at ways to make sure you’re getting the best fuel efficiency out of a litre of petrol.

Car manufacturers spend a lot on car design to make the vehicle as aerodynamic as possible. This creates the lowest possible drag resistance as the car moves through the air. The best use of fuel is when the car is in its original state as it was delivered from the manufacturer.

So how are we slowing our cars down? Here are a few ways you can make sure your car is running fuel efficiently.

  1. Remove external add-ons and car accessories when not in use.
  2. Drive with the windows up and limit AC use.
  3. Have the correct pressure in your tyres.
  4. Have a fuel efficient driving style.
  5. Use all your car’s fuel-saving innovations.

Keep reading for more details of how you can make small changes to improve your car’s fuel efficiency.

External add-ons and car accessories

We sometimes add useful and decorative accessories to our cars such as:

  • Roof racks
  • Top boxes
  • Extra lights

Some are really handy and give us extra storage for camping trips and holidays.

But if you’re not using these accessories all the time, consider removing them when not in use. It may be a bit of a faff, but you’d be surprised how much they impact your car’s fuel consumption.

Car accessories do this by disturbing the air around the car and creating extra drag. This can be up to 50% in some cases.

The additional drag on the vehicle will considerably increase the amount of fuel used as the engine works harder to push the vehicle through the air.

Driving with the windows down impacts fuel efficiency

It’s a summer pleasure, especially for pooches, but driving with your car windows down will increase the drag.

Open windows disrupt the air flow over the vehicle. Air goes into the car and creates a kind of parachute effect by trapping the air and slowing the car down.

Again, the engine has to work much harder to combat the extra drag, and uses more fuel in the process.

The flip side of this is the extra fuel used when the air-conditioning is in use! Yes, AC does use fuel, but the fuel efficiency impact is lower than the drag created from open windows. So opening the windows to save money by not using the air-conditioning is a false economy.

Incorrect tyre pressure creates drag

Cleary you can’t remove your tyres! But you can make sure your tyres are in tip-top condition. The main way your tyres impact fuel efficiency by having the correct tyre pressure.

The wrong tyre pressure impacts the profile of the tyre and its contact with the road. Too much of the tyre in contact with the surface of the road will create drag and slow the car down.

Tyre pressure should be checked at least once a month and always before any long trip for efficiency and safety. Read the full story on how to make sure your tyres are peak condition in our Car Maintenance Essentials blog.

The way you drive could be using more fuel

Another way to save a significant amount of fuel is your driving style.

  • Driving smoothly: anticipate where you need to slow down rather than breaking at the last moment.
  • Make sure you’re driving in the right gear for the speed you’re travelling.
  • No traffic light sprints!
  • Slow your speed on the fast roads (60-70 mph will use significantly less fuel than 70-80 mph).

Sensible driving isn’t just safer, it’s cheaper too.

Go neutral and use the auto stop

Many modern cars have an auto stop engine cut out when idling. Some drivers don’t take to this feature and override it. But this simple feature can save you pennies and help the environment.

So slip into something neutral at the traffic lights and any time you’re vehicle is at a standstill.

Your fuel efficiency top tips

Do you have any money saving tips to make driving cheaper? Pop them in the comments and share the knowledge.

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