With more and more motorists looking for ways to save money when driving - after all, a car is the second most expensive item that most of us will ever buy - Female First has teamed up with the nation's newest favourite money saver, Ashleigh Swan, to pull together a list of Top Ten Tips. Ashleigh is currently working as an ambassador for Go Ultra Low, the campaign to promote uptake of electric vehicles in the UK.
1. Clear out your boot
Steve Fowler, Editor-in-Chief at Auto Express and Carbuyer, said: "Don't use your car as an extension of your garden shed - clear out unnecessary stuff from the boot and inside the car. Superfluous items mean extra weight and, as far as a car's economy is concerned, weight is the enemy of efficiency."
2. Stay pumped up
Jen Walshaw, a mummy blogger at MumInTheMadHouse.com, said: "Someone told me a couple of years ago that keeping tyres pumped up means you get many more miles to the gallon - I gave it a go and it worked: we noticed the difference immediately. That would definitely be my top tip."
3. Be sensitive
David Shaw-Stewart, a founding member of the Go Ultra Low Owners' Club, said: "Particularly with a plug-in hybrid car, it's important to have a sensitive foot: keeping smooth acceleration stops the petrol engine kicking in - using the electric motor more will save you money."
4. Stay cool, but not too cool
Peter Burgess, Director of Motoring Research, said: "The refrigeration part of your car's heating system - i.e. the air conditioning system - needs to take energy away from the engine, which makes the economy worse. On the latest cars, it's not so bad, but the older the car, the more it impacts."
5. Charge cheaply
Paul Smith, a founding member of the Go Ultra Low Owners' Club, said: "Some energy companies have cheaper tariffs in the evenings and at weekends, so these are the best times to charge your electric car."
6. Go easy
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "By far the biggest influence on fuel consumption is you, the driver. Aggressive driving can increase the amount of fuel burned by more than a third and it's bad news for things like tyres and brakes too. Also cars tend to be least fuel efficient at quite low or quite high speeds so the message must be go easy with the right foot however your vehicle is powered."
7. Choose quality
Honest John, of HonestJohn.co.uk, said: "If you're driving a car with an internal combustion engine, use high-quality petrol or diesel because the additives in it give extra lubrication and cleaning to your engine. What's more, the higher octane/cetane means the engine develops more torque at low revs so you can change up earlier and benefit from improved economy."
8. Plain ahead
Paul Barker, Editor of Business Car, said: "Journey planning is important to make sure you are travelling on the cheapest route. Choose the 'most efficient route' in your satnav system. If you're in an EV, you can plan your charging along the route - almost every motorway service station is now equipped with at least one rapid charger, many of which are free to use."
9. Wind it up
Daniel Bevis, freelance automotive journalist and blogger at SuckSqueezeBangBlow.co, said: "Driving with your windows down increases aerodynamic drag, meaning that the engine has to work harder to propel the car; the faster you're driving, the more drag this is creating. At motorway speeds, your engine can be over 20% less efficient with the windows down - so roll them up and watch your mpg figure go up with them."
10. Watch those garage bills
Ashleigh Swan said: "Drivers of petrol or diesel cars spend an average £400 a year on garage bills. Electric cars, by contrast, cost as little as £94 a year. Electric cars allow you to enjoy modern motoring, but without breaking the bank."
Find out more at www.goultralow.com
Tagged in Motoring