As millions of drivers say they can’t afford a full tank of petrol due to the ongoing cost of living crisis, motoring experts have revealed the best way to fuel your car.

Adding only half a tank of petrol at a time can save you money, as it reduces the weight of your car and therefore uses less fuel.

New research reveals that just one in five motorists can afford to put a full tank of petrol in their car each time they fill up.

And Fuel cards experts iCompario, who carried out the survey, revealed most drivers said they either didn’t have enough money for a full tank or were looking to cut costs as we approach Christmas.

Bob Ruprah from car dealership group, Big Motoring World, explains: “While a full tank can offer peace of mind in not needing to visit the petrol station again for some time, it can affect vehicle weight, so striving for a full tank is actually an inefficient way to refuel.

“Manufacturers have gone to great lengths to remove dead weight from vehicles to improve fuel efficiency, such as no longer carrying a hefty spare wheel and a wheel jack, for example.

“Bearing in mind a fuel tank can carry 60 to 80 litres of fuel, which is almost the same equivalent weight in kg, it makes sense not to haul this additional weight around if it’s not needed.

“This one thing could impact your fuel efficiency by 4%, which quickly adds up.

“Of course, it isn’t time efficient to fuel for every journey, so fuelling enough for your weekly commute might be a sensible plan. Refuelling with half a tank is another good option to try to improve your fuelling efficiency by not weighing your vehicle down too much.

“Another variable is how far you are from the petrol station. If the journey to the nearest petrol station is a long one then repeated journeys will also affect efficiency, so a common-sense approach is required to work out the best option for you.

“Importantly though, don’t let your fuel tank get too low. Driving with a very small amount of fuel is not recommended as it leaves you open to the possibility of running out of petrol in a dangerous situation.”

Top tips for using less petrol in your car

  1. Empty your boot of any non-essential items: Just as your fuel tank adds weight, so do other items in your car. If your boot is full of things like gym kit, coats and kids car seats then it will be adding extra weight and therefore using up excess petrol.
  2. Check your tyres: Driving around in a vehicles with incorrect tyre pressure is not only unsafe, but it could also be costing you a small fortune in fuel. Essentially, the lower your tyre pressure, the more fuel your car will need to use to push them around, so keeping them pumped up to the recommended level is always advisable to reduce fuel consumption.
  3. Keep your speed down: It’s estimated that driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph, so reducing your speed can make a big difference to how often you have to fill up.
  4. Turn your engine off when you’re parked up: If you’re waiting for someone, don’t just sit with your engine on, as ‘idling’ can burn through fuel. Instead, turn your engine off. If you have a stop-start feature in your car, make sure you’ve activated this, as it can also save you precious fuel.
  5. Switch cruise control on: Using cruise control on the motorway in particular helps maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save you fuel. 
  6. Avoid aggressive braking: Slamming brakes on increases your fuel consumption, as you need to accelerate more to get back up to speed. This is especially true if you are prone to tailgating and like to follow closely behind the vehicle in front of you. Practice predictive driving instead by looking to the road ahead and plan your next move earlier, so instead of slamming on the brakes at a red light, try slowing down over a longer period of time.
  7. Plan your route: Start-stop driving burns through fuel – ideally you want to keep moving at a steady speed. This means that it’s worthwhile planning your route in advance and avoiding travelling at peak times where possible.
  8. Turn your air con off: Your air con puts extra strain on the engine to keep the car cool, so if you don’t need it, turn it off.