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Save on petrol costs Which? Local finds that changing how you drive can save you money Simple changes to your driving style could cut how much you spend on fuel by nearly a third, according to the RAC. So Which? Local asked Tariq Musaji, of Farrah Driver Training Ltd, an instructor highly recommended by members on Which? Local, for his driving tips.

On the road Plan for the road ahead Look at the road ahead, as far as you can see, for any potential

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or developing hazards. Act early, ease off the gas and brake gently. By slowing in good time, you lessen wear to tyres and brakes, and conserve fuel. Drive at appropriate speed Driving faster requires more fuel. Stick to the limits and considerable savings can be achieved. The Department for Transport (DOT) estimates that driving at 50mph instead of 70mph can improve fuel economy by 25%. Slow down in gear Better engine and braking technology mean that it’s no longer necessary to change into lower gears to slow down. Release the accelerator in good time to slow smoothly and prevent unnecessary braking. Change up gears earlier Correct manual gear changes when speeding up, rather than labouring in the wrong gear, can have a significant impact on fuel efficiency. In a petrol engine, a gear change should be done at 2,000rpm. Diesel cars need to be worked a bit harder, say at 2,500rpm, before moving up a gear. Cut unnecessary electricals and air con Don’t use the fan heater or air con when not needed, as they draw power from the engine There are also other steps you can take before you set off and in maintaining your car that can help.

Before you set off  Roof rack or box This adds wind resistance, resulting in drag at high speeds on the dual carriageway or the motorway. If it’s not being used, take it off. The RAC says an empty roof rack lowers fuel use by about 10%.  Remove excess weight from the boot Such weight makes your car work harder and use more fuel. The RAC says that for every 50kg you carry, you use 2% more petrol on average. This is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to a vehicle’s weight so it affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.

Looking after your car  engine oil Use a good-quality oil that matches the specifications in your vehicle manual. Check levels regularly to identify unusually quick use early, preventing long-term engine problems.  Tyres Check for worn tread, bulges or tears. Consult the car manual for the correct tyre pressure and use a reliable gauge to check. Over-inflated tyres can cause wear round the centre of the tyre, under-inflation results in wear around the outer edge and poor fuel efficiency. The DOT says that under-inflated tyres can mean you use up to 3% more fuel.  Servicing Get the car serviced as regularly as the manufacturer recommends. go online Can such simple changes to how you drive make a big difference to how much fuel you use? We take to the road to find out. Watch our video test at www.which.co.uk/fuelsave

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MORE online How much would it typically cost to upgrade or repair your boiler? Visit www.which.co.uk/local/heating to find out, and get advice on preventing your boiler from freezing and a DIY boiler maintenance video. 78 Which? decEMBER 2012

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Fuel Efficient driving  

This article which I authored was recognised and published in the Which? consumer watchdog magazine. Which? boasts a subsribers of 60,000+...

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