Motor Insurance

Top Tips to Improve Fuel Efficiency and Save on Motor Fuel

Owning a car can be quite expensive, not least due to the cost of fuel. Here we will share our top tips on how to improve fuel efficiency and save on motor fuel in the process.

Owning a car can be pretty expensive. From the cost of driving lessons to purchasing your car to paying for fuel, repairs, insurance and even your MOT—it can soon add up. The average motorist will spend £1,000 a year on petrol or diesel alone, which means every little helps when it comes to reducing your fuel consumption and overall motor spending.

While some costs associated with car ownership are unavoidable, reducing your fuel consumption can save you a considerable amount of money. Using less fuel is also better for the environment too. In no particular order, here are some top tips to improve your fuel efficiency and save on motor fuel:

Consider changing your vehicle

Average fuel consumption should always be a consideration when buying a car, but heavy consumption may be unavoidable if driving an older vehicle as they often get worse gas mileage, especially if your car's in need of maintenance.

According to buyacar, here are the 10 most fuel-efficient cars in the UK for 2019, plus MPG stats for some of the most popular cars in the UK for comparison's sake. As you can see, the latest electric and hybrid models are incredibly fuel efficient when compared to most cars on the road.

Fuel EconomyMPG/MPGe
Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient cars
Hyundai Ioniq PHEV247.8
Toyota Prius Plug-in235
Kia Niro PHEV201.8
Mercedes E 300 de201.8
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV139.7
BMW 530e128.4
BMW i8 128128.4
Mercedes S 560e128.4
Volvo V90 T8117.7
Some Popular UK Cars
Ford Fiesta60.1
Nissan Qashqai53.2
VW Golf47.1
Land Rover Discovery43.5

The Hyundai Ioniq PHEV comes out top with almost 250 miles per gallon, which also has the benefit of being a hybrid car, meaning you can reduce your petrol consumption to a much smaller fraction, as it also runs off electric. Another way to save money on your car bills is by finding a cheaper car insurance policy—check out our article on the average cost of car insurance to get an idea of what you should be paying.

Drive carefully

How you drive can have a significant impact on your fuel efficiency, and is one of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of fuel you burn per journey. For example, avoid driving at high speeds unnecessarily especially if you are not on the motorway. Higher speeds and more aggressive acceleration burn fuel much quicker, so your car will be less fuel efficient if your driving is erratic, fast or involving a lot of stop-starting.

When looking to increase your speed or to decelerate, do so gradually to burn less fuel over the course of your trip. Monitoring the traffic around you can help you to maintain a steady speed, so you can anticipate slowing down ahead of time and take your foot off the accelerator sooner. In essence, the more responsible your driving as well as the more you anticipate oncoming hazards or inclines, the less fuel your vehicle will require.

Check your tyre pressure

Did you know you could reduce your fuel burn by up to 3%, just by keeping your tyres inflated to the correct pressure? Going on the UK average of £67 to fill up a fuel tank, that's a saving of almost £50 per vehicle, per year if you fill up your tank just twice a month.

In addition, getting your car regularly serviced as well as getting on top of problems quickly will ensure your vehicle is running as efficient as it can be. This also complies with UK law, which carries penalties for poor quality tyres, or tyres which are not inflated to the correct pressure.

Excess weight

Similar to an aeroplane, the more weight your car is carrying the more fuel it will burn. Cars can quickly become dumping grounds for items we don't need to be carrying, so it's a good idea to have a regular clear out.

For example a snow shovel from the winter when it's currently summer, the kids' pushchairs when they aren't with you that day, or even roof racks from your last cycling trip—it all adds to unnecessary weight you not only don't need, but is actually costing you money each time you drive.

Before you set off on your journey, have a look at your car and remove any excess items that are weighing your car down. This will instantly save you money as less fuel will need to be burned to complete your journey.

Stuck in traffic? Turn off the ignition

Our roads are becoming ever more clogged up and congested, which means we are spending more and more time stuck in traffic. Whilst you might not be moving anywhere when your vehicle is stationary, having your engine running will continue to burn fuel.

Although it can feel like a bit of a hassle, to save fuel it's important to avoid 'idling'. Therefore, if you are likely to be stuck there for some time you can turn the engine off whilst you wait. This is also better for the local air quality too, especially if your vehicle runs off diesel.

Consider your aerodynamics

Anything which makes your vehicle less streamlined creates what's known as a 'drag'. Roof racks and boxes are particularly bad for this. The Energy Saving Trust completed a study which found that an empty roof rack adds 16% more drag when driving at 75mph, or a whopping 39% more drag for a roof box when the test was carried out at the same speed.

Therefore it's a good idea to remove these promptly when they are no longer needed, to avoid wasteful fuel burn.

Turn off the air-con

As cars are made of metal, they can get particularly hot, especially in the summertime. One of the ways to counteract this is by turning on the air conditioning, but be aware this does increase your fuel burn especially if driving at a low speed. Therefore, you should only use it when necessary and be sure to turn it off once your car is cool. The same applies for rear rear-heated windscreens and or other electrical items that are being powered by your engine, which put extra strain on it burning more fuel. The next time you buy a car, consider a lighter colour (for exterior and interior) as this will reflect sunlight and keep the car cooler on hot summer days.


Our team of writers has expertise in business, car, travel, home and pet insurance as well as personal finance issues.


Car Insurance

  • You could save up to £530*
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars**
  • Quotes from 100+ providers

Motor Insurance Reviews

NimbleFins Newsletter

Get deals, tips, news, and more!