In November 2022, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast a fuel duty rise of 23 percent by late March 2023. If this turns out to be the case, it would see 12p added to every litre of petrol and diesel. As with all financial forecasting, it’s a prediction that’s subject to change – and at the very least, the present 5p per litre fuel duty cut will stand until March 2023. This is when the Spring Budget is due and when Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt will announce his latest fuel duty rate decisions.
Although this fuel-duty prognosis isn’t encouraging, there are things we motorists can do to manage fuel expenditure.
Despite what you might think, it’s best to cut the engine whenever your car comes to a natural stop, rather than leave it to idle, which uses up more fuel. Many vehicles have Stop-Start technology which does this automatically.
2. High speeds
The faster a car travels, the more fuel it uses. Cutting your speed by 10mph could see a fuel-economy increase of up to 14 percent.
3. Rapid acceleration, harsh braking
High torque is another fuel-guzzling culprit. Torque is needed for acceleration, which typically occurs as a result of rapid braking. Minimising rapid acceleration and harsh braking will help to reduce fuel costs.
4. Under-inflated tyres
Something as simple as properly inflated tyres will help to improve fuel economy.
5. Air-conditioning and rolled-down windows
In warmer weather, an increased use of air conditioning impacts on fuel economy. However, rolling the windows right down is arguably worse because the consequent increase in airflow creates drag, resulting in reduced aerodynamism. There’s no easy answer here but being alert to these factors can make a significant difference.
6. The long way round
Careful route-planning will cut down on miles travelled and fuel used. It’s also best to avoid steep, fuel-hungry inclines – and congested streets, if you wish to reduce the risk of idling.
7. Travelling solo
It’s not always feasible but it’s worth considering car-sharingas a way of minimising fuel costs. The more people you can do this with the better, and the more you’ll each save.
8. Lightening the load
The more weight a vehicle carries, the more fuel is used to compensate. Of course, this might not appear to support our ‘travelling solo’ point – but the overall cost savings make it worthwhile. In any case, removing excess baggage will help to deliver greater efficiency.