Avoid skyrocketing petrol prices

14 January 2011

Slowly but surely, the price of petrol is creeping towards the 140p mark again, and there’s really nothing we can do to stop it. Put in context, for a family car, that’s £80 to fill up the tank - a staggering investment.

The winds of turbulence have been blowing around the price of petrol for a while now, but what we can do to stop having to dig so deep into our battered wallets?

I’m a regular driver, and rely on my car to visit friends and family at the weekend. While I’m stringent with the petrol, and always take care to share my journeys with others to cut the cost of the fuel, a journalist’s wage can only go so far and I usually end up spending about £25 a week on fuel.

The AA has launched an eco-driving project to help drivers reduce their fuel consumption by up to a third. It has come up with a few simple steps that I’ve been trying to follow this week – I’ve highlighted the most useful.

Lose weight from the car. Unfortunately, like most other women, I like to carry my life around in my bag, and this extends to my car as well. The boot is a dizzying array of ‘just in case’ items such as extra blanket, pair of trainers and a family size bottle of water.

While it might be advisable to carry a spade in your boot in case of snow – your petrol bills will skyrocket. Lose weight, gain the right kind of pounds.

Don’t get lost. I’ve rigorously mapped out my route so I don’t end up wasting petrol circling around residential streets.

Consider alternatives. Not that cycling around the M25 from Essex to Surrey is really an option, but you get the idea.

Easy does it. I’m typically an erratic driver, starting and stopping every two minutes. The AA advise driving smoothly, accelerating gently and “reading the road ahead to avoid unnecessary braking”.

Stick to the speed limit. My least favourite piece of eco-advice, but it does work. According to the Department of Transport, driving at 70mph uses up to 15% more fuel than at 50mph – proof that paying attention to the limits really is a smart move.

Failing that, website petrolprices.com lists the cheapest petrol in your area – just plug in your postcode to start saving.