From smart parking to lighter loads, how to make your petrol last longer during fuel crisis

DRIVERS face weeks of misery as petrol pumps continue to run dry – even as the Army steps in to deliver supplies.

But The Sun on Sunday has asked a top motoring expert to help you make the most of every drop of fuel in your tank.

Scott Dixon, from the website, has tips including practical advice on how you can save fuel when you are stuck in a forecourt queue.

He also provides directions to brilliant apps and websites which will help you quickly track down gold-dust fuel near to where you live or work.

Consumer champion Scott, who has published a string of books and articles advising drivers how they can save money, says: “The petrol crisis is a nightmare for motorists.

“Those who are lucky enough to find a station with petrol now need to make it last as long as possible.

“The good news is there are a lot of things you can do today to ensure you get more bang for your buck when you refuel.

“And best of all, none of my handy tips will cost you a penny.”

As soldiers begin to deliver diesel and unleaded to the nation’s forecourts tomorrow, here are some of Scott’s brilliant tips on how to make your petrol last longer.


We’ve all been there. You drive into a service station and forget what side your vehicle’s petrol cap is on.

Right now, with pumps at a premium, pulling into the right space has never been more important.

In most cars there is a little arrow next to the picture of the petrol pump on your fuel gauge to show which side your cap is on.

Remembering this little hack could ensure you don’t end up having to drive to the back of the queue again.

For those stuck waiting in a forecourt as it hots up in the car, don’t flick on the air-con, it will drain fuel.

As for what time to arrive, head there as early as possible. Most fuel deliveries turn up before 7am.


Avoiding supermarket petrol is fuel-ish.

Many motorists believe the quality to be substandard.

This may explain why queues are longest at BP, Esso and Texaco garages – 400 of which now have £30 limits on the fuel you can buy.

Your car will run perfectly well on supermarket petrol because fuel comes from the same refineries – and you can save at least 10p a litre.

A small car has a 40-litre tank and a family car will hold up to 70 litres, which means it could be between £4 and £7 cheaper each time when you fill up.

Morrisons and other supermarkets also hand out a £5 voucher for groceries every 5,000 points – so it’s a win-win.


IF you are not using your roof rack, it’s best to stick it in the garage.

Removing the weighty item from your motor can improve petrol consumption by up to ten per cent.

So if you are lucky enough to fill up, taking off the roof rack could save you 10p in every pound of fuel.

THINK BWP (Bike, walk, public transport)

THE average car journey is just 8.4 miles.

Could you walk to get that pint of milk? Could you hop on the bus for Sunday dinner or take the train to work?

Not only will it save on petrol and stop you wasting time queuing in a forecourt, you could even get fit from it.

Ditching the car for walking or jumping on the bike, even just one day a week, does wonders for the environment as well.

The average person who takes public transport to work is also likely to save, on average, £40 more than a car driver.

And walking or cycling to work five times a week also improves your health.

Maybe it’s time to dust down your pushbike.


LOOK in your boot. If there is junk in there like old wellies, piles of A3 maps and an old flat tyre, then take it all out.

Every extra 50kg carried in your car drains two per cent of fuel, according to the RAC.

And if you have to go for a big weekly food shop this weekend, swap that crate of lager for a six-pack.

You’ll not only cut back on petrol, you will also reduce the chances of inflating the spare tyre around your belly.


NOW is the perfect time to consider joining one of the growing number of car-share schemes across the country.

Or if you and a group of colleagues all drive to work, consider taking it in turns to give each other lifts – like Peter Kay and Sian Gibson in TV’s Car Share.

Alternatively, try Liftshare, a free-to-use app that connects you to others close by who might be willing to drive you.


BACKING in, rather than parking nose-first, can save you £2 a week, according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

This is the theory.

Reversing out of a parking space with a cold engine uses 20 to 25 times more fuel in the first few seconds than a warm engine.

Do that several times a week and it adds up in terms of fuel costs as well as engine wear and tear.

Parking in the direction of traffic helps too, as you are more likely to be able to pull away smoothly, which is the key to fuel-efficient driving.

Also, if you are lucky enough to get some sunshine, consider moving the motor.

Studies have found the cooler your car is, the less the gas in your tank will evaporate.


IF you are heading on to the motorway, consider switching to the inside lane.

Experts at the AA say reducing your speed by 10mph can save as much as ten per cent in petrol.

By driving at 70mph you will use up to nine per cent more fuel than you would at 60mph, and up to 15 per cent more than at 50mph.

Driving at 56mph is said to be the optimum speed for fuel-efficient driving.


OVER-revving is one of the biggest factors in wasting fuel, says breakdown service Green Flag.

Drivers typically let the revs run to 3,000 per minute on a petrol car and 2,500 on a diesel before changing up a gear.

To save fuel, change up when you hit 2,500 revs on a petrol vehicle and 2,000 on a diesel.

Your engine may not sound like it is labouring, but in reality travelling at more than 70mph is when your engine starts glugging gas.

At very high speeds it will have to work much harder and will start to drink far more petrol.

Sticking to somewhere between 1,500 and 2,500rpm will help you conserve the most fuel.


THERE is no need to drive around aimlessly hoping to find somewhere with petrol.

Lots of free-to-download apps and websites provide updates showing which stations still have supplies.

The best is Waze which also provides colour coding so you can see the cheapest and most expensive places for fuel near you with a traffic light system, red for the most expensive.

Waze’s two million users can also report how much traffic there is around a petrol station.

Google Maps also shows traffic levels.

The website, which also has an app, tells you where the cheapest fuel is in your area.

The Fuel Genie app also gives locations of petrol stations and accurate prices.

Football fans driving to see their teams across the country can try Here We Go, an app which reveals the most fuel-efficient route and where traffic is likely to be heavy.

Local communities forum has become a lifeline for motorists during the fuel crisis as neighbours share tips on where they have found petrol available. Search the hashtag #sharefueltips.

Facebook and Twitter have proved a great tool for motorists trying to find fuel.

Adeel Hashmi, manager of a petrol station in Bispham, Lancs, last week set up a petrol alert Facebook group – and within minutes, 2,000 locals had signed up.

He now uses it to alert motorists to fuel levels – and other such groups have now been created across the UK.


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