Save Cash This Autumn – Ways to Drive More Economically

by David Redmond on 13 Sep, 2012

According to a number of sources, owning and running a car is the second largest expense most people have to deal with – the only thing more expensive is accommodation. Many people would view their car as just as much of a necessity as the roof over their heads. For people who have to commute long distances to work, travelling by car can be significantly cheaper than relying on public transport. As well as a monetary saving, cars also give you the flexibility to choose when you travel, instead of having to plan your journey around public transport schedules. Saving time can be just as valuable as saving money, and the freedom to plan your own route and your own departure time could save you hours every week.

No matter how often you drive, it’s sensible to look into ways of keeping the necessary expense of car ownership as low as possible. Here are some top tips to help you ensure that you’re driving as economically as possible this Autumn:

When you’re driving on motorways, you should be thinking about fuel efficiency. The first thing you can do to improve your fuel efficiency is to make sure that you drive as “smoothly” as possible. This means driving at a steady speed and in the highest appropriate gear, instead of frequently accelerating and decelerating. When you do need to brake, try to do so as early as possible, allowing your car to slow gently by taking your foot off the accelerator and relying partially on natural deceleration to assist the car’s braking system.

If you’re driving around towns, you can still adjust your driving technique to ensure that your fuel is used as efficiently as possible. Make sure that your tyres are at the correct pressure, as under-pressure tyres will mean that your car’s engine has to work harder – and so use more fuel – to reach normal driving speeds. Try to keep your car as light as possible. If there’s junk in your boot, remove it. Air conditioning is fitted in many cars and using it requires fuel; is it really necessary for your journey? By applying these simple fuel efficiency guidelines you could save between 10% – 30% of your weekly fuel bill. If you are a young driver then this will be of help from a money saving aspect, but will also help to lower your insurance premiums if you are using a black box or other technology that tracks the way you drive.

Smoother driving will use less fuel, and will also reduce wear and tear on your car’s engine. A well looked after car is going to cost less in repair bills and have a longer lifespan, helping you to delay the moment when it’s necessary to replace your vehicle. If you’re serious about saving money on your motoring, look into simple car maintenance jobs which you can complete yourself. Start with the simple things – check your oil and coolant levels regularly, and top them up if necessary. Remember to make sure that your tyres have sufficient tread. After this you can move on to teaching yourself how to perform simple jobs like changing a battery.

About the Author

David Redmond

David Redmond is a Partner of Don Gilliard Finance Group. He is a fee-only, independent financial advisor and financial planner. For over 15 years, he has been helping individual investors and their families realize their investment goals.