How to save money on your car and travel expenses

Louise Wood

Everybody needs to get from A to B, but why does it have to be so expensive?

The answer is that it really doesn't, as long as you are willing to make a few changes to your routine and shop around.

First of all, make sure you are covered by a service such Green Flag Breakdown to offer you peace of mind and ensure costs don't spiral if you do find things begin going wrong with your vehicle.

Save as you drive

But don't just plan for worst case scenarios. Every day tweaks can make big differences, especially as the average UK family spends about £80 per week on travel.

In a famous episode of Top Gear, presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May attempted the One Tank Challenge, driving from Basel in Switzerland to Blackpool - a 750-mile journey - without stopping to refill the tank.

On the show, all three made it to their destination - but not without sacrifices.

And it's the same for all of us in a way. In order to get the best fuel consumption possible it is necessary to make changes to the way you would normally act behind the wheel.

Luxuries such as running air conditioning, charging your phone, heating seats and playing the radio (although this is minute) help empty the tank quicker, as does driving too fast.

Increasing your speed from 55mph to 75mph can raise fuel consumption by as much as 20 per cent. Driving at speeds around 55mph is generally viewed as the best way to make your fuel go that little further.

Tips to save on travel

Other driving ‘hacks’ include driving in the right gear, keeping tyres at the correct pressure and taking any heavy items that are not needed out of the vehicle.

Of course, it's not always quite so simple to follow all these rules, but if you stick as closely as possible you will quickly notice the changes.

Shopping around will also save money in the long run.

Just because your latest insurance quote looks reasonable, it doesn't mean there aren't any better deals out there - you just need to look.

The same rule applies to purchasing your fuel. Some petrol stations notoriously charge more than others, but there are websites out there which can help you find the best deal.

And what about when you buy or lease your next vehicle? Will you go for the one which looks the coolest or the one which offers you the best value all round?

Of course, there are other cheats available. Sharing journeys with colleagues or taking the most direct route, even cutting down on the amount of journeys by doing more tasks in one trip, will also be more cost effective.

And when you're using other forms of transport such as planes and trains, make sure you shop around too. 

There are great deals out there, but often you must plan ahead and book early.

And if you still want to save more, there is always public transport - or you could even get on your bike and mix the chores with a bit of enjoyable exercise.