Help
BBC OnePanorama

MORE PROGRAMMES

Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Sunday, 27 July 2008 13:38 UK

Tips on saving pounds at the pump

Petrol pump nozzle - file pic

In Can We Afford to Fill Up? Panorama examined how high fuel prices are affecting all of us and what the alternatives might be.

In the programme, Simon Elstow from the Institute of Advanced Motorists took Mondeo enthusiast Phil Pratt through an eco-driving course aimed at reducing the amount of fuel he uses.

Here Mr Elstow spells out his top tips for getting the most miles out of every tank of petrol.

ASK YOURSELF IF YOU REALLY NEED TO DRIVE

Short journeys that are generally less than two miles cause the most pollution and are inefficient in terms of fuel consumption. A straining cold engine will produce 60% more pollution than a warm one. Walk or cycle where possible instead.

PLAN YOUR ROUTE

Take the most direct route and go at off-peak times if possible to save fuel and time. Sitting in congestion means you are often doing zero miles per litre. Consider car sharing, Park and Ride schemes or public transport.

HAVE YOUR CAR SERVICED REGULARLY

Inefficient, under-serviced engines can reduce fuel economy by 10% or more. Catalytic converters are environmentally friendly - but only if they are properly maintained.

CHECK YOUR TYRES

Correct tyre pressures reduce wear and help fuel economy. Under-inflated tyres need replacing more often (itself an environmental problem) as well as being dangerous. Make a point of checking them at least once a week.

OBEY THE SPEED

Try to "feather" the throttle when you reach your cruising speed. Doing 56mph (90 km/h) uses 25% less fuel than 70mph and a smoother driving style can bring significant fuel saving.

REDUCE THE DRAG FACTOR

Remove roof racks and carriers when they are not in use, as well as unnecessary boot luggage and heavy accessories. Driving with the window open and using air conditioning increases drag and lowers fuel economy, so use the vent settings instead.

BUY GREEN FUEL - AND USE LESS OF IT

If you get stuck in traffic, switch off the engine. Find out if you can buy low sulphur diesel (city diesel) or cleaner petrol (low sulphur/aromatics) locally.

USE "ACCELORATOR SENSE"

Save fuel by planning ahead and reading the traffic in advance to gently join a queue rather than braking suddenly as you hit traffic.

REVERSE WHEN YOU PARK

The engine will be cold and at its most fuel inefficient when you start it. If you can drive away without having to reverse when the engine is cold, you will save fuel and have better visibility.

WATCH YOUR LEVELS

If you fill your fuel tank up to the brim, you may be carrying around additional fuel which in turn means that you have more weight on board than is necessary and this will itself reduce fuel efficiency.

Panorama: Can We Afford to Fill Up? Will be on BBC One at 8.30pm on Monday 21 July 2008.



RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific