Money-saving tips as petrol rises to €100 a tank

Wednesday 05 December 2012 11.11
It will soon cost more than €100 to fill tank of medium sized car
It will soon cost more than €100 to fill tank of medium sized car

The price of filling a tank of petrol in a medium sized car could exceed €100 as oil prices go to their highest levels since July 2008.

The Automobile Association is reporting that people have already changed their lifestyles and cut out trips in the car to cover the extra cost with total fuel sales down for the second year running.

According to pumps.ie, a consumer site that monitors the price garages  charge, the average price per litre of petrol is €167.9c while diesel comes in at €156.9c after a series of rises in the past three months - about 10c more than this time last year.

Conor Faughnan of the AA told RTE’s Drivetime (at 52 minutes) that the price rises were down to three issues – rising oil prices, the weakening euro (oil is traded in dollars) and the fact that nearly 60% of petrol goes on tax. Faughnan says this is the "principle source of our problem" and people should not blame garage owners.

"As any motorist will tell you, since the start of the year practically every single week fuel prices have been going up ... it did moderate a little bit in May or June ... but it was only a slight fall and it wasn’t sustained and it is now trending upwards again," said Mr Faughnan.

Petrol is now expected to exceed €1.70 a litre in September and with no chance of the tax policy changing, consumers will have to look at driving less or cutting back elsewhere.

The problem for many is that public transport is so patchy, driving is the only option for commuting.

For business and leisure driving, here are top tips to save money.

15 ways to decrease your petrol consumption

1. Keep your car properly serviced – this saves you money in the long run.

2. Don’t use your boot to store heavy items. An extra 100 pounds increases fuel consumption by 1-2%.

3. Slow down. Drive at the optimum gears – lowering the gears appropriately to slow. Fuel economy decreases rapidly above 60 miles per hour.

4. Avoid braking sharply – it consumes more fuel. Learn to anticipate traffic lights and use gears to slow your speed.

5. Find your cars ‘sweet spot’ – the minimum speed at the highest gear.

6. Accelerate smoothly - don't be a boy racer when coming out of the traffic lights, it consumes more energy.

7. Plan your route before you set out to reduce the stops and starts if you are unsure of your destination

8. Don’t tailgate on the motorway – apart from being dangerous and the cause of stress for the driver in front, it will mean you consume more fuel as you will brake more frequently.

9. Manual cars tend to get more mileage than automatic cars – consider that when looking for a new car.

10. Keep your tyres at the correct pressure. Proper inflated tyres can reduce fuel consumption by up to 3%.

11. Check the condition of your engine’s air filter. A dirty filter will increase fuel consumption.

12. If you have air conditioning, try to avoid it in stop-start city traffic as it causes the engine to work harder and consume more fuel.

13. Check the fuel consumption rating when looking for a new car.

14. Get a ‘fuel service’ – a spring clean for engines that flushes out the dirty deposits that restrict the flow of fuel. It can improve consumption on cars that are more than three years old by as much as 25%, says Halfords.

15. Check pumps.ie to get the cheapest petrol in your area. It's updated by drivers and is fairly accurate