WITH fuel prices spiking and temperatures soaring, keeping cool while driving can put a dent in your back pocket.

A driving expert has shared their two top tips to reduce your fuel consumption.

Slash your fuel costs by not using these dashboard buttons

There’s nothing worse than a stuffy cabin, plus you can be fined up to £5,000 if you let the warmth affect the way you drive.

But did you know you could be increasing your fuel consumption by up to 20% if you regularly have your windows down or air-con on.

The RAC reports that the average cost of petrol sits at £1.78 per litre and £1.89 for diesel.

Prices are predicted to fall over time, but for now they remain high.

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However, Supermarkets including Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco have begun slashing their petrol prices – but there’s still savings to be made.

Chris Evans, motoring expert and head of content at Leasing.com explains when air-con and open windows can drive up your fuel consumption.

He said: “Using AC can increase your fuel consumption by as much as 10% but opening the windows at high speeds can increase fuel consumption by as much as 20%.”

His advice is based on the results of a 2004 study by the Society of Automotive Engineers which studied the impact of windows open versus AC in large saloon and sports utility vehicles.


However, the news is worse for those with hybrid vehicles. Chris said: “Meanwhile another study, commissioned by Emission Analytics, found that the impact of AC on hybrid fuel economy was almost twice as much.

“Fuel efficiency dropped by 6.1% in a hybrid car on average, compared to just 3.8% for standard petrol cars and 4.6% for a diesel.”

When should I open my windows?

According to Chris, windows are best open when you’re travelling below 45mph.

At this speed the drag caused is minimal and it won’t have a notable impact on your fuel economy.

However, once you’re travelling above 45mph he advised drivers to shut them.

This is because windows will reduce the aerodynamics of your car at higher speeds – shutting them will improve this.

At this point your fuel consumption could go up by 20%.

When should I use by air-con?

Once you’re above 45mph switch to using your air-con.

While that cool artificial breeze will increase your fuel consumption – it’ll only do so by as much as 10%.

It’s also important that you don’t let a hot car affect your ability to drive.

Rule 237 of the Highway Code stipulates that drivers must keep their cars ‘well ventilated’ in order to avoid drowsiness.

Failing to adhere to these guidelines and therefore not having proper control of the vehicle could land you with a £5,000 fine in the most serious cases.

How else can I cut my fuel bills?

There are several ways you can save on your fuel before you even get in your car.

Low air pressure in your tires means that your tires will drag, slowing the car and using more fuel.

Keeping your tires topped up with air will make sure that everything is functioning properly and you will use less fuel

If your car is full of clutter or you don’t need your roof rack, get rid of it. The less weight your car is carrying the less acceleration it will need to get going.

You can use sites like PetrolPrices.com to search petrol stations near you before you set off to see who has the best rates and cheapest options – you can do 20 free searches.

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