Are fuel prices driving you round the bend?

The following steps could increase your mpg (miles per gallon) and chop about 10% off your fuel bills, that's £6 off the average tank of fuel!^^

Follow Our Simple Guide and See if You Notice the Difference.

Drive Smoothly.

Stop-go driving burns fuel. Watch the cars ahead closely to help you avoid sharp acceleration and heavy braking. Speed up and slow down gradually and you can improve your fuel efficiency by up to 30%*.

Stay in Gear.

Don't coast downhill or towards traffic lights in neutral as this uses more fuel. Stay in gear and ease off the gas gently to reduce fuel flow to the engine to virtually zero.

Watch the Revs.

Change up smoothly and change gear before 2,000rpm. Drive in the right gear for the speed and road conditions. A car travelling at 37mph in third gear uses a quarter more fuel than in fifth gear.

Don't Idle.

Switch off if you are stationary for more than a minute or two. Restarting the engine uses virtually no fuel until you press the accelerator.

Keep up the Pressure.

The RAC say you can improve fuel consumption by up to 2% if you check pressures regularly and keep them at the correct pressure, it's safer too.

Lighten the Load.

Dump extra weight - take off the roof rack when you are not using it and clear out the boot (except for the spare tyre of course!) The heavier and therefore more air resistant your car, the more petrol it uses.

Take It Easy.

Slow down. Your car's fuel efficiency plummets when you travel at speeds higher than 60mph. According to the Department of Transport. Driving at 70mph uses up to 15% more fuel than at 50mph. Travel at 80mph and you could be using up to 25% more than at 70mph. You'll also get to your destination safer and more relaxed.

Switch off the Air Con.

Air conditioning increases fuel consumption at low speeds, but at higher speeds the effects are less noticeable (all electrical load increases fuel consumption, so unless you need them turn off your heated rear windscreen, demister blowers and headlights too).

Look After Your Car.

Inefficient, under-serviced engines can reduce fuel economy by 10% or more, so have your car serviced regularly. Dirty air filters can also seriously reduce your fuel economy so change them regularly.^^

Plan Ahead.

Check the route and road works before leaving. Stop and ask for directions if you are lost and use a satnav if you have one to find the shortest route. Also try and avoid rush hour travel if you can.

Use Your Car Less.

Cutting your car journeys by just five miles a week could save you around £50 a year in fuel costs. You'd also save 85kg of CO2 in fuel emissions, helping to reduce air pollution at the same time.

Share a Car Ride.

How about sharing the journey to work or the school run instead of driving alone? Every day there are 10million empty seats in cars on our roads. Sharing your car journey could save you hundreds of pounds a year in fuel as well as the cost of wear and tear on your car.

Thinking About Your Next Car?

A gas guzzler costs more to refuel - and more to tax. That's because vehicle tax depends on the car's CO2 emissions. Really fuel efficient cars are now tax free and there's plenty of fuel efficient models now available from a range of manufacturers. Before you buy your next car, ask yourself what you need your car for and whether a fuel efficient model could fit the bill. Find out the CO2 emissions and vehicle tax band before you part with any money. Choosing a car with the lowest CO2 emissions could save you the equivalent of four months fuel every year.

^^ theaa.com/motoring_advice/fuels-and-environment/drive-smart.html

* guardian.co.uk/money/2008/jun/16/fuelsavings