Why is my car using so much fuel?

By Sandyford Sep 01, 2023

Irish motorists are feeling the pinch on the wallet these days as we fill our vehicles at the pumps. The removal of the excise duty relief on diesel and petrol, together with a volatile global market, means there has been a marked increase in the price of motor fuel. On the 1 June 2023, the reinstatement of the duty saw an increase of 6 cents per litre on petrol, and 5 cents per litre on diesel. These rates will be increased again on the 1st of September 2023, as a further 7 cents will be added to the cost of a litre of petrol and another 5 cents to every litre of diesel. Unsurprisingly, motorists now have fuel economy at the forefront of their minds and of their driving.

But what if you think that your car is using too much fuel? You may feel that you are not getting a good return for your money?  

There are many reasons why your car can be using more fuel than usual and there are many things that you can do to conserve or reduce your petrol and diesel usage.

Your driving habits may be costing you money.


Driving styles have a big impact on fuel consumption

Gentle smooth driving with an ease of acceleration, smooth gear changes and softer braking will help to conserve fuel and keep the car motoring on a fill for a little longer. Faster acceleration will increase the pumping of fuel and although you might get to your destination a wee bit faster, you will pay for that privilege in fuel usage. Rapid stopping and starting and weaving in and out of traffic can see you guzzle through a third more fuel on motorways and 5% more on city driving. Slow and steady driving conserves petrol and diesel use. Using the wrong gear can be costly too! Listen to your engine and if it sounds as if it is overworking, then shift gears gently and save fuel. Leaving your car idling is not a good for the environment but it also means that you are using unnecessary energy. Turn the car off if possible.


Good tyres save fuel

Check your tyre pressures regularly. Tyres that are under inflated by 20% will increase fuel consumption by 4%. So, a quick check on the tyre pressures will result in an easing on the petrol and fuel gauge. It’s important to inflate your tires to the recommended psi and also to remember that over-inflation can negatively influence your fuel consumption too.


Remove the roof rack and unload the boot

Carrying around a load of heavy stuff in your car puts extra pressure on the engine and affects the fuel consumption.  Roof racks and boxes will cause drag, and this also means you will be back at the pumps more often.


Air conditioning

Air conditioning and windscreen heaters take a toll on the fuel economy. While the vehicles heater generally recycles the engine heat to keep us warm, the air conditioning will use petrol or diesel to keep you cool. Open a window so that the cars internal temperature reaches a lower than the exterior temp. It is worth noting that an open window creates drag on a vehicle when driving at highway speeds.


Car Servicing

A routine and regular car service will make your car engine last longer and run smoother and will save you fuel in the long run. Oil changes are vital in conserving fuel in combustible engines. If you think that your car is using excessive fuel and your oil change is overdue, it may well be the cause. Dirty or malfunctioning air filters, spark plugs, fuel injectors and oxygen sensors will all have a detrimental effect on the amount of fuel you use.

Some newer vehicles have a sensor that will let you know how much petrol and diesel your vehicle is using. If you are not that lucky, you can keep track by noting the mileage and the litres purchased and used. A change of  driving style and taking care of any mechanical issues that might be affecting fuel consumption should ease the monies spent on motor fuel. Here at Sandyford Motor Centre, our experienced staff are on hand to help you reduce fuel usage and beat the effects of those price increases at the forecourt.

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