The fuel warning light coming on is never a good moment, especially if you’re not sure where the nearest filling station is. With the rising popularity in electric vehicles(EVs), there’s a lot of talk about the Government’s plan to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

We recently surveyed our users to find out their views on EVs, and the results suggest that more than 80% of drivers would only consider buying one if the public charging network was much better than it is. Added to this, two fifths of drivers said that they were worried about the range of EVs – something that doesn’t have quite the same impact on a normal engine!

Full stats from our survey:

  • 53% of drivers are concerned about their car’s emissions
  • 64% of people take emissions into account when choosing a new car
  • 84% of respondents would consider an EV if the charging network was much better
  • 40% of motorists are concerned primarily with the range of an EV

We recognise the need to reduce our CO2 emissions – climate change is a big threat after all – but a wholesale ban on petrol and diesel cars without an established reliable network of charging points could cause more problems than it solves. That’s why we’re advising motorists to make sure their car is serviced regularly, as this can improve fuel efficiency, and in turn reduce emissions.

Here are some of our top tips for improving fuel economy:

Using your air con or opening your windows increases fuel consumption, so make sure the AC is only on when absolutely necessary, and windows are only open if you need some fresh air.

Getting an aircon regas will also greatly improve your car’s fuel efficiency as getting fresh gas into the system will take the pressure off the engine.

Inside the engine bay, fuel consumption is largely controlled by the Mass Airflow Sensor. This sensor measures the amount and density of the air coming into the engine, so the car knows how much fuel to inject into each cylinder. If the sensor isn’t working properly, you’re probably going to use a lot more fuel than you should.

Tyre pressure is also an important consideration for fuel efficiency. The higher your tyre pressure, the less fuel you use, and vice versa. However, it is important to make sure your tyre pressure is at a safe level.

It’s widely understood that driving between 55-65mph is the optimum speed for fuel economy, so if you’re going on any long trips, try and keep your speed around this point. Speedy acceleration is also bad for fuel economy, so the heavier your right foot, the heavier your fuel usage!

Engine oil is also critical to the health of your car and its fuel usage. Using the right grade of engine oil for your car is a must, and one that’s easy to check.

Spark plugs impact fuel economy too, with old spark plugs decreasing fuel economy by up to 30%. Spark plugs are usually a cheap and quick fix too.

An oxygen sensor (or O2 sensor) has a big role to play in keeping fuel costs down too. The sensor sits inside the exhaust and measures how much oxygen is passing through the exhaust. This feeds back to the ECU to control the fuel/air mix. If the sensor isn’t working then your car will automatically run rich, using more fuel, and increasing your emissions.

All of these parts can be simply checked during a regular service, and keeping your car maintained in this way will probably save you more than the cost of an annual service in fuel costs, so do your bit for the environment and get your car serviced!  

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