Money Saving Driving Tips - True or False?

In these trying times, who isn't on the lookout for savvy ways to economise our travel costs and save a few pounds? 🇬🇧 Between unprecedented leaps in fuel prices and a wider cost of living crisis, tightening our belts has become more of a necessity than a virtue. And, let's face it, wouldn't we all rather splash our hard-earned cash on something more gratifying than petrol? To help you with that, we've rounded up some practical driving tips to save you money and debunked a few cost-saving myths that aren't quite as effective as they may seem.

Was True - Now False! 

“Filling up your car at the supermarket is the best way to get cheap, high quality fuel” 

If you've been to Tesco recently and felt a sting at the till, promising yourself a self-imposed shopping hiatus for the next fortnight, the thought of then filling up your car at a petrol station is likely disheartening. That's not to say it's not a wise move! The quality of fuel sold in supermarkets usually matches that of branded fuels, compatible with every engine across the UK. Many supermarkets offer a discount on petrol if you fill up after a substantial grocery shop - a perk worth considering! Furthermore, it's always smart to avoid motorway petrol stations, notorious for their steep markup. 

However, as of the autumn of 2022, a surprising shift has occurred. It's now often cheaper to visit your local independent or BP garage, which could offer fuel up to 5-6p cheaper per litre than supermarket giants like Asda, Tesco, or Sainsbury's. Baffling, isn't it? Nevertheless, with mounting pressure from the government to pass on the wholesale savings, we may see another U-turn soon. Keep an eye on the prices as you pass by if you're keen to stretch your pennies! 


“If you spread the weight in the car, you’ll use less petrol”

A surprising myth believed by one in six UK drivers is that evenly distributing weight - be it people, pets, shopping, or anything heavy - will reduce their fuel consumption. Apart from sounding rather antisocial (imagine being asked to sit in the back to 'balance the weight'), it doesn't actually work and will likely cause needless hassle. However, if you're transporting a heavy load like bags of compost, it's worth considering your axle and avoiding piling it all in the boot! 👃


“It works out cheaper to buy VED annually instead of monthly”

Though it may be inconvenient, it's a fact. If you can afford to pay a year of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) or road tax upfront instead of monthly, you'll secure a better deal. Although, don't fret if an initial lump sum payment is out of reach. The monthly plan doesn’t cost significantly more. According to the AA, if your car is a Band D, one year of VED will cost £115 if paid upfront, or £120.75 if paid monthly. It's advisable to pay annually if possible - you save a bit, and it's one less monthly payment to worry about. 


“Buying premium fuels is more efficient for your car”

It’s a common belief that investing in premium fuels leads to increased efficiency. However, research from the AAA (American Automobile Association) shows that most cars perform equally well on regular and premium grade fuels, with the latter being up to 10p more per litre. Some drivers have reported noticing a difference, so it might be worth testing a couple of tanks and tracking the distance covered. Most, however, will find that premium fuel won't result in any significant savings ✅


“Haggling for car insurance can get you a better deal”

Negotiating with insurance salespeople might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it can make a substantial difference to the amount you pay. Be prepared: when your auto-renewal quote arrives, compare it against other providers and then discuss it with your car insurance representative. The Association of British Insurers states that comprehensive cover costs £462 per year on average. If your auto-renewal quote exceeds this, it’s certainly worth questioning and seeking a reduction. So, if you have the time, shop around, then negotiate with your insurance company to match or better the quote. Just ensure you're comparing like-for-like, including excess and any extras like courtesy cars. 


“If you fill up your car when it’s cold, you’ll get more for your money”

Surprisingly, 10% of British drivers subscribe to this theory, which unfortunately has them huddling at petrol pumps on chilly mornings. Since most fuel is stored underground, the temperature doesn’t significantly fluctuate. You're more likely to catch a cold than save a penny or two 🤧 


“Clearing out your car will reduce the amount of petrol you use”

Every 50kg in your car increases fuel consumption by about 2%. So, if you don’t need those items in your car, out they go! Apart from improving your fuel efficiency, it also frees up space for passengers and reduces the risk of discovering mouldy food or misplaced documents in the nooks and crannies. Plus, who knows, you might unearth some forgotten treasures! Similarly, remember to remove roof bars when not in use. They increase drag on the car, causing it to consume about 10% more fuel.


“Turn the radio off when you’re buying petrol to save money”

Amongst all the myths, this one wins the award for the most ridiculous. Somehow, 6% of drivers are convinced that their radios have a say in their fuel costs. The only feasible explanation might be a fear of spontaneous dance-offs leading to petrol spills. Sounds unlikely? We think so too. So feel free to keep the tunes rolling while you fill up  🎶


We hope that our money-saving driving tips have been enlightening and that you enjoyed reading this as much as we loved writing it. If you've got more clever cost-cutting tips, do let us know in the comment section below 👇

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