Motorists, you could shave pounds off your fuel bill

Take the Midweek Herald Eco Fuel Efficiency Challenge.

Motorists can shave at least 10 per cent off their fuel consumption.

By taking a few, simple steps and changing your driving habits, you could be one of them.

The Midweek Herald is today issuing a challenge to readers: try our handy, fuel-saving tips and see how much you can save.

It will mean putting the brakes on your speed - but the rewards couldn’t come at a better time.

According to the RAC, British motorists bought two million fewer litres of fuel in the first half of this year - because they couldn’t afford it.

Technical director David Bizley says it is evidence that “motorists are finding it increasingly hard to stomach escalating fuel prices”.

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Ultimately, some people are driving less.

But, in a rural area like East Devon, travel is an essential part of every day life.

By following our simple guide, put together with the help of the AA, the RAC and Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, you could be quids in, while helping to reduce pollution and aiding road safety.

Before you take the eco-friendly driving challenge, there are a few things you need to do.

Jason Dawkins, one of the RAC’s Devon patrol managers, advises: “Keeping your car well maintained will have a big impact on its performance and economy, so regular servicing is a worthwhile investment – that will save pounds.

“Check your tyre pressures regularly.

“Under-inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption by up to two per cent and will also affect the safety of your vehicle.

“Think about what you are carrying.

“Unnecessary weight in the boot or roof racks and roof boxes will affect the wind resistance and overload your car.

“Plan your journey – plan your route, avoid congestion and consider combining journeys.

“Consider alternatives for short distance journeys.

“Cars use more fuel when they are cold and put out more emissions.”

The AA’s Vanessa Guyll adds: “Drivers should only carry what they need; it’s so easy to use the car as an extra storage unit.

“Good car maintenance is important, particularly correct tyre pressures.”

Vanessa says it takes nearly 10 miles of normal driving for an engine to reach full working temperature and it needs to reach this temperature for best efficiency.

She urges drivers to make fewer short journeys and to consider combining trips into one longer drive.

MPS Steve Binding, of Devon and Cornwall Constabulary’s driver training unit, says steps should be taken to reduce aerodynamic drag. Roof racks should be removed. Windows should remain up.

Take a look at the tips on this website and give them a go.

Let the Herald know how you get on. Contact us by email - or write to us at the address on page 4.