It’s the life blood of the western world and a drain on our wallets. Petrol is one of the main expenses that we have to budget for. Even those who rely on public transport will find it’s a big chunk of their monthly costs, albeit indirectly. The advantage that drivers have (aside from dodging the vagaries of timetable alterations and inevitable disruptions to the service) is that they can, to an extent, control their petrol consumption.

Here we take a look at some of the simplest ways you can make the money you spend on petrol (quite literally) go further.

Increase the Fuel Efficiency of Your Car

There are a range of things that you can do to your car to get more mileage out of a tank, and none of them involve feats of mechanical ingenuity. Simple, simple things can really add up. For instance, if your tyre pressure is too low, you’ll create extra drag, meaning the engine has to work harder to get you where you’re going and more fuel is used up. Your unnecessary roof rack is also a big source of drag, so, if you don’t need it, take it off.

As well as aerodynamics, weight is a big issue as far as fuel consumption is concerned. Get rid of all the rubbish that’s accumulated in your boot, the backseat and the foot wells and you could find yourself manning a much leaner vehicle. Likewise, opting not the fill the tank all the way up when you’re at the petrol station will also leave your car running lighter.

Finally, look out for the air con. Whilst its effect on the temperature in your car may be cool, the toll it takes on the tank is anything but. If you’re travelling at low speeds, don’t bother with the AC. Just wind down the windows.

If you’re travelling at a fair old whack, then the opposite applies, as taking the windows down will (as well as turning the inside of your car into the eye of a tiny storm) also generate so much drag that you’ll be better off with the air con on.

Combine these steps with commonsense measures like turning off the engine when stuck in a jam and you can expect to drive your fuel efficiency up by more than 15% – a very noticeable difference.

Drive Smart

You’ll save even further if your driving style is economical. If you’re thinking ahead then, as well as being safe and considerate, you’ll also use less fuel. Being in a position where you can allow your car to slow naturally from losing momentum is much more efficient than slamming on the break every time you need to stop. By the same token, smooth, gradual acceleration will always be preferable to flooring it. Staying in the highest gear you can at any given time (without asking too much of the engine) is also going to save you fuel.

If you do all this well you can expect to stretch out your mileage by another 15%. On top of this, you will most likely find that you aren’t losing any time. Others may pull away quicker from the lights, but they’ll end up breaking harder when they reach the next set, making the whole exercise of rushing along somewhat futile.