Drive yourself rich

23 Dec 2015

Do you remember that episode of Top Gear, ‘Tanks for Nothing’, where Jeremy Clarkson drove from London to Edinburgh and back on only one tank of fuel? Even he thought he wasn’t going to do it, but guess what… He did! He got 40.4 miles to the gallon over 800 miles. How? Well, he took it to the extreme – no music, no heat and resisted the urge to crank his speed up, to name just a few – but we can all learn from those fuel-saving tricks.

Just a few small changes in our driving habits can make all the difference to your bank balance long-term, hooray!

Here’s our top 10 tips to save on fuel:

Empty your car
Only pack what is absolutely necessary, so take all of that rubbish out of your boot, empty your passenger seat (unless you’ve got someone sitting there) and lighten the load. It’s more effective for smaller cars than larger ones, which is great news for a lot of students’ cars. 

Get streamlined
Only have your roof rack on your car if you’re using it. The more aerodynamic your car, the more fuel-efficient you will be. If possible, put your luggage in the boot. 

Pay attention
Driving calmly and with the flow of traffic will improve your mileage. Rushing up to the queue of traffic, forceful accelerating and braking furiously are all a big waste of fuel. Anticipating stopping  will mean you avoid slamming your brakes on. The more you can keep a smooth and steady speed, the more fuel efficient you will be. If you do come to a complete stop, start again gently. Don’t tear off, it’s not a race! 

Temperature controls
Turning off your AC or heating can reduce fuel consumption – now this really does depend on how far you’ll go to save fuel! If it’s a chilly day, wrap up warm or just use your heating for a few minutes to get the car warm. Use the flow-through ventilation on a warm day too. If you’re driving on a motorway or a dual carriageway, keep your windows closed to reduce drag. 

If you’re waiting, turn off your engine
Those fancy cars with the ‘on/off’ buttons know what they’re doing (the ones that switch the engine off at lights and in traffic). They know that if you’re stationary with the engine running for too long, that can be a big waste of fuel. If you’re going to be stationary for more than a minute, switch off your engine while you are waiting, it’s more efficient. 

Check your tyres
Driving with the correct tyre pressure is not only more fuel efficient, it’s safer and they last longer (not to mention more susceptible to pot hole damage). Check regularly, around once a month should be enough. 

Don’t drive
OK, it may sound a bit of an obvious one! Could you hop in someone else’s car or… could you walk? Shorter journeys are by far the least fuel efficient as by the time the car has warmed up you're home. 

Plan new trips in advance
Have a good idea of where you’re going, rather than wasting fuel doing three point turns and driving lost around the houses! Alternatively, how about a sat nav or a trusty passenger who knows where they are going or who can read out directions. 

Avoid rush hour
If at all possible, avoid rush hour and other heavy traffic. Check out news on the radio or, of course, there’s an app for that. Just make sure you check before you set off, not while you’re driving! Try Waze on Android or iOS for help with traffic, routes and up to date petrol prices. 

The information contained in our articles are intended to help you at uni and beyond, however you should not rely on this as advice for your own personal situation to make, or refrain from making, any decisions. Endsleigh cannot accept liability for any decisions you make based on our articles if things go wrong: everyone has their own individual circumstances. 


The RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists and are committed to making motoring easier, safer, more affordable and more enjoyable for drivers and road users.