Toy Mini car

Driving down the cost of motoring

The price of filling up hit record highs recently – but how can we cut the cost of driving?

Despite a 5p per litre cut in fuel duty, the cost of filling up a typical family car is now around £90.

There’s not a lot we can do about the fuel prices. But there are ways to drive smarter that would cut the cost of driving.

Our cars are a bit like us – they take a while to wake up. They’re least efficient when cold so it’s best not to drive quickly from the off. 

If we do we’ll just be wasting fuel. And the same goes for leaving our engine idling.

Under pressure

One simple check that can save us pounds is making sure our tyre pressure is correct.

Almost all filling stations now charge for air. But don’t be tempted to scrimp – it can be costly as well as dangerous. 

For the 50p or so it’ll cost us we could get 42mpg rather than 40mpg assuming our tyres were under-inflated by 15psi. That’s the same as losing 26 miles per tank, according to the RAC.

Insurance is one of the biggest costs related to our cars.

But we don’t have to accept that renewal quote every year when it comes in. We can shop around for a better deal. 

Not only that, once we have an idea of what other firms charge we can go back to our own insurer and haggle.

Shopping around is best done three weeks or so before our policy ends. That’s when we’ll get the best deals – up to 17 per cent less than leaving it till the last minute.

Or we could look at pay-as-you-go insurance if we don’t do loads of miles. There are a few types – we can pay by the miles we drive, the hours we drive or even the way we drive.

Empty the boot

Carrying extra weight around in the boot or back seat can really eat up the fuel too.

For every 50kg of weight we’ll guzzle two per cent more fuel.

Roof bars cause the same issue. They can weigh five kilograms and also create drag, ramping up our fuel costs by ten per cent. So we should take them off when we’re not using them.

Lastly, a great way to cut fuel costs right back is to car share.

Sites like can match us up with people to share with.

And car clubs are becoming more popular in big cities. If we don’t need to drive every day these could be a good way to keep driving without paying more than we need to.

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