MSE's 2011 Petrol/Diesel Cost Diet Challenge: Put your money where your pedal is!

edited 11 January 2011 at 7:29PM in Motoring
168 replies 75.3K views


  • JoannaS_3JoannaS_3 Forumite
    103 Posts
    I've got a 1.4 FOrd Fiesta Zetec and I only get 28MPG as my average speed is unfortunately only 14MPH!!

    I live near a tube line in South London and I have obviously tested driving and taking public transport, Public transport costs me £8 per day and if I leave my house at 7.30am I only just get to work in time for 9am!

    Driving costs me around £4-£5 a day (If that) and I can leave at 8am instead of 7.30am!

    If we had a decent, reliable, cost effective transport system like other countries such as Holland (particularly Amsterdam) and Switzerland, the government would get what it ultimately wants which is most people out of their cars and onto bikes, trains etc. They are actually pricing us into our cars and to be honest I like being in my car but I'm not happy with the price of petrol!!
    Debt owed £4000, Saved (to pay back) £300, only £3,700 to go!!

    My best money saving tip: Good manners cost NOTHING! So please be nice to each other! :happylove
  • JoannaS_3JoannaS_3 Forumite
    103 Posts
    seanrep wrote: »
    I have just changes to Shell from Sainsburys petrol and I get an extra 80 miles per tank! Its taken a couple of fills of Shell to really see a difference but even the first tank gave me 40 extra miles in my 1.2 Ibiza.

    my brother works for Shell and apparently there is no difference in the raw petrol but rather the additives that Shell put in give you more miles for your money. Im converted!

    That's really good to know as I use sainsbury's petrol and my car tells me I'll get 240miles out of £40 petrol but I only get around 180miles! The shell garage is actually closer to me then sainsbury's (use it for Nectar points) so will switch and see if it works for me! Thanks! :T
    Debt owed £4000, Saved (to pay back) £300, only £3,700 to go!!

    My best money saving tip: Good manners cost NOTHING! So please be nice to each other! :happylove
  • edited 11 March 2011 at 3:31PM
    SOT2011SOT2011 Forumite
    301 Posts
    edited 11 March 2011 at 3:31PM
    I've been giving the petrol diet a go this week. I've never been a "pedal to the metal driver", my OH says its like Driving Miss Daisy, but I think that is a bit of an exaggeration:D

    I drive a 1.4 petrol smallish car, and usually get somewhere around an average of 35 mpg.

    2 things have changed at the same time this week which will make a true comparison impossible - I have started driving the full 22 miles each way to work every day, rather than 3 miles to the station then train on at least 4 days a week, as when I worked out train fare and petrol etc, they were about the same, but this way I have loads more flexibility.

    Upshot is I am doing much more motorway driving than I was, but I am also trying to put the petrol diet guidance into practise - setting off more slowly and building up speed gradually instead of foot down hard till I get to the target speed, and trying to keep top speed closer to 65 than 70 ish.

    I zeroed the car computer on Sunday night, and 5 days on, my MPG was up to 39.2! pretty chuffed with that so far, even though every now and then I forget what I am trying to stick to and put my foot down a bit. Still a country mile away from the advertised MPG I should be able to get, but a significant couple of pennies per mile saved in fuel which will add up

    Going to give it another week and see if practise makes perfect & will update here again.

    I also need to do all the car checks - empty boot, tyre pressures etc to make sure I have optimised it from that side, the only exception this time around is I am going to fill the tank right up on Sunday as I have a 5p Mr T voucher to take advantage of before it expires.
    Debt Free since Nov 11 (ish) (except the £118000 mortgage :o) as at Jan 2013 but still hanging around DFW as I need to Stay On Track.

    "My dad used to say, 'You wouldn't worry so much about what people thought about you if you knew how seldom they did'." Phil McGraw
  • chris175chris175 Forumite
    49 Posts
    Another thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is making sure your car is WELL serviced. I unfortunatly have to commute from Crewe to North Manchester each day, so Fuel ecomomy makes a big difference to me.
    At first I was using a Peugeot 106 1.5 Diesel, that poor car (bless it) had covered 160,000 miles by the time i sold it yet reliably returned over 70mpg, highest i ever saw was 76mpg (using shell fuel and no town driving). I serviced it myself every 6000 miles as per the manufacturers schedule and it was still going strong when I sold it.

    We now have a Rover 400 2.0 Diesel and that was returning 53mpg when I bought it, I gave that a full service and it is now doing 65mpg. Although I also got rid of the EGR valve at the same time!

    Learning how to do a basic filters change is easy, even on modern cars. A basic oil + filter change takes me about an hour (mostly leaving the sump to drain properly) and only costs around £20 in parts, and can make your engine more efficient
  • thescouselanderthescouselander Forumite
    5.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    glynny wrote: »
    Hey, you lot out there with moans about fuel price hikes, crap road condition etc etc. There's only one way to bring fuel prices down - don't use it ! May I suggest a universal "No Car Use Day" - The impact will soon wake up the Fuel Price Monsters (especially the Greedy Government ). We can all do with a boost to our own economy so, leave the car at home, work from home if possible, Think walking to the shops/doctor/cafe/hairdressers etc etc instead of jumping into car/van/taxi/motorbike etc etc. Just one day, that's all it will take. And, you will feel a lot better off both financially and physically. Anybody got any suggestions for the date of "universal No Car Use Day"?

    This is the best advice IMO. I can't do much to improve the fuel economy of my car significantly so instead I try to find ways of using the car less. For me this means riding my bike to work at least 2 or 3 days per week and any other short trips at the weekend are also done on the bike if its practical.

    Its very satisfying knowing you're depriving the government of a bit of tax and its usually quicker anyway since the local council have made such a mess of the road system. Add to that the health benefits and you cant lose.
  • I drive a Smart ForTwo cdi. So far this year I am averaging 77.6mpg and have travelled some 3810.6 miles since 01/01/2011 (yes, I actually keep track of all this in a spreadsheet!). The best I've averaged is 86.6mpg (over 397.8 miles) and the worst I've managed is 57.7mpg over 302.6 miles. I mostly drive on A and B roads through rush hour traffic. My primary reason for getting a Smart car was because it's tax exempt due to it's low emissions and very cheap to run in terms of insurance and servicing. Before this car I also drove a very modest Kia Ceed 1.6 crdi and I have worked out that I am saving over £180pcm by driving my Smart car. That's more money in my pocket and less in anyone else's. It's a very practical commuter car and that's all I use it for - you can also park it on a penny, something I love doing - it'll fit into the smallest of spaces. It is proving a good little workhorse and is actually surprisingly spacious. My neighbour used to have one and said that the boot in the Smart car was bigger than the boot in his (BMW) Mini Cooper that he later replaced it with. I am 6ft 6in and 16st and, although I'm sure it must look comical someone of my size getting out of one, I don't care a jot as I'm saving over £2000 per year! :rotfl:
  • jase1jase1 Forumite
    2.3K Posts
    I find that the best way of driving to work economically is to put the foot hard to the floor and go as fast as is legally possible the whole commute.

    As a contractor, paid by the hour, getting to work 10 minutes sooner pays for the saved petrol several times over.
  • spendaholicspendaholic Forumite
    1.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    I did another check and the Saxo is working out at around 45 mpg, which is better than I thought but not as good as I think it's supposed to do. It's possible the head gasket is going and I don't know how that would impact on fuel.

    However, I've now doubled my monthly petrol budget from £40 to £80, which is working a lot better, but I did have one month where I put in close to £120. This will go down if I take VR from work and start working from home again ... but then energy bills at home may go up ... Duh!
    Highest debt: £35k (2005); Current debt: < £2k (2021)
    £3,541 CASH; £50 to spend on chocolate; Harlem Globetrotters tickets; Jesus Christ Superstar tickets + 2 t-shirts; Guardians of the Galaxy goody bag; Birmingham City v Barnsley FC tickets; Marillion tickets; Dancing on Ice tickets; Barnsley FC v Millwall tickets
  • SOT2011SOT2011 Forumite
    301 Posts

    Week two of petrol dieting and another improvement - this week managed to average 40.9 mpg. Still miles away from what it should get, but if I can stick at it I should be under my petrol budget for the month by at least £20 if not a bit more, instead of being consistently a bit over.

    Was doing better earlier in the week - had the average up to just over 42 mpg, but lost that with a couple of journeys where I wasn't so focussed and just drove old style, still, shows what I could achieve if I can keep to it, I can't remember how long it is meant to take to break a long standing habit, but will keep going for a while and see if it becomes more ingrained. x
    Debt Free since Nov 11 (ish) (except the £118000 mortgage :o) as at Jan 2013 but still hanging around DFW as I need to Stay On Track.

    "My dad used to say, 'You wouldn't worry so much about what people thought about you if you knew how seldom they did'." Phil McGraw
  • JennyPJennyP Forumite
    1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    I bought a new car (new to me!) this morning with the aim of saving fuel.
    Problem was finding something that I liked...I wanted something that would be economical on fuel but still fun and quirky. A lot of the nice diesel cars were out of my price range to buy so I've opted for a Citroen C3 convertible. It's really quirky and cute and even has leather seats.
    Please no bad reviews on Citroen C3s....if there's problems, I don't want to know! I'm rather happy with my decision and looking forward to taking delivery.
    Now just got to sell my old car and everything will be hunky dory!
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