2015: Year Of The Frugal Motorist?

Car running costs are a big deal for people that are on a limited income. As the economic squeeze continues, many motorists get forced to make tough decisions about their cars. Driving used to be a pastime that almost everyone could afford. These days, only those with a good disposable income can afford to keep their vehicles on the road.

As a result, the concept of frugal motoring is something that has grown in popularity. If you’re struggling to find ways of making your money stretch further, the following tips could help you out.

driveDrive slower to your destinations

It’s no surprise that, the faster you drive, the more fuel your vehicle uses! To conserve fuel, one simple solution is to drive slower to your destinations. I’m not suggesting that you drive ten mph everywhere, by the way!

But what I am suggesting is that you leave a little earlier to reach your destinations at a slower speed. For instance, if the legal limit on a road is 60 mph, slowing down to even 50 mph will save you a significant amount of fuel!

Of course, you could drive even slower than that if you wanted. The only downside is that you won’t be keeping up with the flow of traffic. And driving at much slower speeds could encourage road rage from other motorists.

It’s reasonable to drive around 10% to 15% slower than the posted speed limit without incurring the wrath of other road users. After all; there’s nothing in the road rules that says you must drive at the fastest permissible speeds!

Buy a modern car

Many people don’t realise this, but older cars use more fuel than their newer counterparts! It wouldn’t matter if your car were a small, eco-friendly model in its heyday. As an engine ages, it becomes less efficient at what it does.

In an ideal world, one would have their engines rebuilt when they reach the ten year or 100,000 mile milestones. In reality, most folks cannot afford to spend thousands having their engines rebuilt.

As a result, they end up driving around in cars that use more fuel because their engines need to work harder than they should. If you roll around in a gas guzzler, it could make perfect sense to sell up and buy a newer vehicle.

Today’s cars offer a wealth of fuel-saving measures. And they will be more efficient at what they do. After all; modern cars need to pass strict emissions laws before they can get sold to consumers.

If you can’t afford to buy a newer car outright, you do have the option of borrowing the money and paying it off in instalments. Personal loans, car finance and credit cards are just some of the options open to you.

Lower your drag coefficient

You might be wondering what the hell I am talking about! Let me explain. Drag coefficient is a term used to describe automotive aerodynamics.

If you need more force to push through the air, your car will end up using more fuel. There are many factors that can cause cars to have high drag coefficient figures. The first relates to the shape of your vehicle.

Boxy cars are more likely to use extra fuel because they aren’t too aerodynamic. Whereas if you have a car where air is easier to pass over and around, things aren’t so bad. The second factor relates to weight. Heavy things need more force to move them; it’s as simple as that.

You make your car lighter by ensuring you don’t drive around with unneeded things. For example, do you have a boot full of junk? Get rid of it and leave it at home! Driving with no passengers is another way to reduce weight. And if you’ve put on a few extra pounds over Christmas, one extreme way is to go on a diet!

Diesel owners: use alternative fuels

It’s no secret that diesel cars offer better fuel economy than their petrol counterparts. Diesels are also the engine of choice for hauliers, trains and marine transportation. If you own a diesel car, did you know that there is one way to increase your fuel economy further?

I am, of course, talking about using alternative fuels. The brilliant thing about modern diesel engines is that you can use biodiesel and even vegetable oil! In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, diesel costs more to buy than petrol.

Diesel owners can make savings on their fuel costs by using some of these alternative fuels. There is a growing following of people using such fuels with their diesel cars. For example, many motorists use rapeseed oil as it works well even in cold temperatures.

It also makes sense to stock up on large volumes of these alternative fuels. Savvy savers do this by installing large tanks capable of storing all kinds of liquids. You might be wondering how to dispense some of this cheap fuel for your diesel car.

The simplest method is to install some fuel transfer pumps to your storage tanks. They work in much the same way as the pumps that dispense diesel at your local filling station. It doesn’t cost much to buy and install such pumps to your tanks.

Petrol owners: consider turbocharging your engine

A seldom used but useful way of increasing your petrol car’s fuel economy (and performance) is to fit a turbocharger to it.

You might think that is something “boy racers” might do their cars. But it’s fast becoming a cost-effective way of making your petrol go further. Car manufacturers know this fact and is the reason they opt for fitting turbos to their cars in the factory.

How can a turbocharger increase your fuel economy, you might be wondering. The answer is simple. Turbos force air into your engine’s intake system. When an engine has more air entering it, the combustion process becomes more efficient.

Take the Ford Focus 1.0-litre EcoBoost, for example. It offers more power and better fuel economy than the old 1.6-litre engine. Despite the fact it’s only got three cylinders and has a small turbocharger!

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