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What will reduce fuel consumption?

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 1 year ago

4 min read

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With petrol prices at an all-time high, follow this advice to reduce your fuel consumption

Fuel prices are the highest they've ever been, and with the UK's cost-of-living crisis putting additional strain on people's finances, learning how to save fuel has never been so important.

Content Guide

What will reduce fuel consumption?

The fuel system explained

Frequently asked questions


How to reduce fuel consumption

Here are ten things you can do:

  • Check your tyres are fully inflated

  • Close the fuel cap tightly

  • Avoid carrying heavy loads

  • Brake carefully

  • Have your engine tuned for 5% more efficiency

  • Check your spark plugs

  • Accelerate gently

  • Drive in the highest gear possible while sticking to the speed limit

  • Remove roof bars or boxes

  • Only use your AC if you need it

Wrong fuel

What is hypermiling?

Following the steps above is known as 'hypermiling', an idea that became popular in America in the early '00s when fuel prices skyrocketed.

Believe it or not, some drivers view hypermiling as a pastime as well as a convenient way to save money. There are MPG marathon events, for example, where enthusiasts aim to get the maximum efficiency from their cars.

Hypermiling might involve:

  • Choosing the most direct route with the least braking/accelerating

  • Driving when there is less traffic

  • Parking in the shade during summer and in direct sunlight during winter

  • Keep your car working efficiently by having it serviced regularly

  • Keep windows closed

  • Drive slowly (within reason!)

  • Park in the closest space when you enter a car park, even if it means a longer walk

  • Reverse into spaces so you can drive straight out

  • Park on a slope so you can 'coast' away

  • Avoid unnecessary manoeuvres


The fuel system explained

Fuel Sending Unit

The fuel sending unit is responsible for measuring the level of fuel in your car so it is vital that it is working properly.

The fuel sending unit is located within the tank and sends information to the fuel gauge which is located on your dashboard.

If you have filled up your tank and the gauge is saying that you have low fuel then there is obviously an issue with, one or all, of three things, the fuel gauge, the fuel sending unit or the wiring in between the two. 

As soon as you realise something isn’t right, take your car to a garage and explain the inconsistency in the fuel reading and the mechanic will know exactly what to do.

Fuel Pump

The fuel pump is responsible for, you guessed it, pumping fuel from one part of a car engine to another.

A car engine works by burning fuel and air which is mixed together in the carburettor, however the fuel needs to travel from the tank to get there.

That’s where the fuel pump comes in, it pumps petrol into the carburettor from the fuel tank.

The carburettor is where fuel is mixed with air, after this process is complete, the mixture is sucked into the engine itself.

If the fuel pump isn’t working, you will notice your car stumbling and running roughly, your car will most likely fail to start if the fuel pump is completely broken so this can be one of the biggest reasons for a car not starting.

Once more, there is nothing you can do to resolve this issue without taking the vehicle to a garage.

The Fuel Filter

The fuel filter is an essential part of the fuel system which, you as a driver, can keep a close eye on. It carries out an important function and prevents the system from getting too clogged.

The fuel filter can be located by checking your car owner’s manual and should be replaced at least once a year. If your can is spluttering at a high speed, then it is likely that the fuel system is clogged.

Once more, if the car doesn’t start then the system may need cleaning.

Fuel Injectors

The majority of cars are now fitted with fuel injectors and only older vehicles will be lacking this part of the fuel system.

These small parts are responsible for spraying extra fuel into the engine in the form of a fine mist, as the combustion process is improved significantly.

Fuel injectors get naturally dirty over time as particles of dirt get past the fuel filter. The best course of action to take when a fuel injector gets stuck open, is to replace the part itself.

Get your fuel system fixed


Frequently asked questions

Does fuel expire?

The short answer is yes. If fuel is left for a long period of time it tends to evaporate and separate due to its volatility. Petrol generally lasts around 6 months if stored properly; likewise, diesel can last between 6 months and a year.

When is fuel consumption at its highest?

Fuel consumption is at its highest when you are accelerating, especially if you are doing so very quickly rather than gradually.

How can you avoid wasting fuel?

The best way to avoid wasting fuel is to steer clear of any unnecessary journeys. Why not walk instead if the destination is close by, or consider using a bike?

Other ways to avoid wasting fuel include making sure you're not carrying a heavy load if you don't need to (eg empty the clutter out of your boot) and driving in a smooth manner.

What does fuel efficient driving achieve?

Fuel efficient driving achieves two things:

  • You'll get more out of a tank, so you'll have to fill up less often

  • You'll save money because you won't need to buy fuel as often

What's most likely to increase fuel consumption?

One of the biggest factors affecting fuel consumption is your driving style; harsh acceleration and braking will result in your car using more fuel.

What should you do to avoid fuel spillage?

Make sure your fuel cap is fastened tightly.

Filling Up with Petrol

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