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How to: save money on petrol

**** Petrol price rises, consumers lose at the pumps as the price of petrol sky rockets. Picture: Martin Hunter/SundayStar Times09/01/200884789Martin HunterChristchurchThis is the property of the Sunday Star-Times

Petrol prices have been up and down like a yo-yo over the past few years; just as we thought things were starting to look a little brighter at the petrol pump, prices started to creep back up.  But there are ways and means to save on petrol by simply doing your research, taking car of your car and adapting your driving style…

Check Prices Before You Buy  Being prepared is the name of the game when it comes to saving on petrol.  Websites such as petrolprices.com can guide you towards the cheapest fuel in your area.

Drive Slowly  The faster you drive the more fuel your car needs.  In fact, slowing down from 60mph to 50mph can save up to 15% of your fuel.  So leave earlier and take a leisurely drive to work.

Leave The Car At Home  It’s an obvious strategy but a good one.  Leave the car at home for those shorter journeys and walk, take a bus or a train and you not only save money on fuel but help the environment too.

Keep Your Car In Good Shape  Keeping your tyres at optimal pressure to save on fuel – under inflated tyres cause resistance and require more petrol.  Oil should be changed once a year or every 7,500 miles in a petrol car or every six months or 6,000 miles in a diesel.  Clean oil keeps fuel consumption low.

Don’t Overload  There’s a reason that lorries are so expensive to run.  Weight needs more fuel, so lose any excess baggage such as baby buggies or golf clubs when you’re not using them.  Likewise roof boxes, bike racks and roof racks are not only heavy but affect the streamlining of a car, negatively affecting fuel consumption.

Don’t Use Air Conditioning  Unless it’s absolutely necessary abandon your air con in favour of fans or an open window.  Surprisingly using air condition can add up to 10% on to your fuel consumption.

Drive Carefully  The most petrol is used during acceleration and deceleration so drive as steadily as possible, keeping a steady pace and changing speed gradually, leaving slamming on the brakes and pulling away at break-neck speed to the boy racers.

Take Advantage of Supermarket Offers  Supermarkets including Tesco and Sainsburys regularly offer pence off of petrol at their pumps when you buy in their main stores.  Do your sums and, if the combined cost of your grocery shopping and discounted petrol adds up to a saving, take advantage of their desperation to keep you on side.

Drive Smooth Roads  In the same way that driving slowly can help to keep your fuel use low driving on the smoothest possible surfaces also uses far less petrol than gravel, potholes and bumpy country roads.  So when you know your way round choose the tarmac-ed A road over the bumpy country lanes wherever possible.

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