Something that is overlooked by many drivers is how much money can be saved even when actively using your car. Whether it’s learning to conserve your gas, maintaining your car to prevent long term damage or using cheaper alternatives to purchasing cars, there is plenty of cash to be saved. Let’s talk about 5 ways to save money with motoring.
1. Turn off unused electronics in your vehicle
It may surprise some to learn that having certain features in your car on will use extra power from your battery, which is kept recharged by driving and driving requires fuel! Some of the main offenders of battery drainage are the air conditioning (AC) system, leaving lights on within the interior, leaving external lights on during daylight and using the USB ports to charge things.
Instead of using excessive amounts of AC open your car’s windows instead. Instead of using external lights during the day, manually switch them off and use your daylight running LEDs (DRLS) if you have them. Don’t leave internal lights on as they can drain your battery significantly. And try to use your USB port less for things such as phone charging. All of these small things can add up after a while.
2. Monitor your car’s tyres pressures more often
This is often neglected and is a major cause of increasing fuel costs. Underinflated tyres can cause significantly increased fuel costs, as the more friction applied to the road by underinflated tyres makes the car struggle to reach optimum speeds. It has. Been proven that underinflated tyres will increase fuel usage by your car and make you have to stop at a fuel station more often.
You can combat this by finding out your recommended tyre pressures for your vehicle via your manual. Once you have them you can use an air pump (a standard one or one at a fuel station) to get your tyres up to the recommended pressures. This will save you money, as well as making your car safe to drive.
3. Consider trying out car leasing to acquire a new car
Car finance and leasing now account for a large majority of vehicles on the road. News site Reuters stated from 2016 to 2017 86% of cars bought in the UK were financed. Out of all of the finance options available these days, car leasing remains the cheapest. This is due to not having to pay for the deprecation of the car and avoiding damaged used car pitfalls.
For example, you can get cheap 2-year lease deals for as little as £4500 in total for a brand-new car with zero miles. These days you would be paying around that price for a decent used car, but even then, that used car could have 40,000 miles+ and be around the corner from a catastrophic engine issue that will cost £1000 to be fixed (as well as the inconvenience of having to wait for it to be fixed).
3. Learn to shift gears conservatively if you drive a manual
A lot of modern cars now have a ‘driving rating’ built into their systems. This will tell you how economical your driving is. Many drivers simply don’t drive economically and constantly rev their car into 5,000+ RPM territory, even during stop/start traffic where little input is needed to get your car moving.
Many cars these days now have a little flashing symbol on your instrumental cluster when the best time to change gear is. Learning to change gear at 2,000 RPM will significantly improve your fuel costs and save you from trips to the fuel station. It may feel slower but with all the traffic on the road on today’s modern roads, it probably won’t matter as much.
4. Make the change to electric cars
This one is still a 50/50 based on whether or not you have the local infrastructure to charge your car, as well as your own charging port installed in your home. Electric cars can produce huge savings on fuel costs, once you get past the initial price of the car. There are plenty of cheap electric cars on the market now such as the Nissan Leaf that is great for local driving.
Calculating your fuel costs yearly is a great way to see how much you could save with an electric car. Let’s say you pay £40 per week fuel costs for work commuting. There are 4 weeks in a month so commuting costs would be £160 in total. Times that by 52 weeks per year you arrive at £8320 just to travel to work. You could be saving all of this cash by looking into an electric car.
Of course, we haven’t added in the price of charging your car at home. The AFDC website says that “If electricity costs $0.11 per kilowatt-hour, charging an EV with a 70-mile range (assuming a fully depleted 24 kWh battery) will cost about $2.64 to reach a full charge.” Even if you charged hour car every single day (365 days a year) you’d be looking at a price of £956 in total compared to the £8320 you would’ve spent on fuel.