Vanishing Costs

26th July 2011

Fuels costs have never been higher and budgets have never stretched tighter.

Martin Paling, head of van insurance at Hastings Direct, offers some free advice for van owners on how to save money by reducing their van running costs to remain competitive for their customers.


Fuel economy

Shed pounds to gain pounds.

Tools and equipment are heavy — assess what you need for each job and leave the rest behind. The lighter the load, the more money you can save on fuel — up to two percent.

Maintain the pressure.

  • Keeping your tyres at the right pressure will also help maximise your fuel efficiency by up to three percent and save you money.

Don't be a drag.

  • About half the energy used to drive a van is used to fight the aerodynamic drag.
  • Try and streamline where you can — if you store ladders and equipment on the roof which is not needed — take it off — less weight means less aerodynamic drag which can save you up to two percent.
  • Keeping windows closed will also minimise drag.
  • However, If it gets too hot, be aware that using your aircon can burn up to an additional 11 percent in fuel.
  • The most efficient combination to keeping cool is to wind down windows on slower journeys and use the air conditioning when necessary for motorway driving.

Be Fuel Savvy.

  • The cheapest source of petrol can be found at www.petrolprices.com, but you will not gain if your use a lot of petrol reaching the cheapest station.
  • Fuel adds weight — petrol weighs about 0.74kg (1.6lb) per litre — diesel is even heavier — ideally, just buy what you need.
  • Avoid filling up at a motorway service station you can save over £5 per tank.

Maintain to Gain.

Keeping your van regularly serviced will help avoid larger bills further down the line. Using the recommended motor oil and replacing the air filter when necessary can improve fuel economy by five percent.

Missed Connections Cost.

Consider investing in a sat-nav to ensure you take the best route and avoid getting lost all of which costs in fuel.

Speed Fines.

For every 5mph you driver over 60mph, you reduce your fuel economy by up to 10 percent. Smooth acceleration also maximises fuel efficiency.


Shop around for insurance

Van insurance prices can vary by hundreds of pounds. If you are short on time, or hate shopping around by want a good deal the quickest way to check the entire market is pick one price comparison website such as www.moneysupermarket.com for example with one online broker with a good panel such as www.hastingsdirect.com.

Top tips to save money

Be sure you know your annual mileage — you can check the exact figure from your MOT certificate and many insurers will offer more discount if you buy your breakdown insurance at the same time.


Keep it legal

More Captain Slow than Clarkson.

  • Observe the speed limits — just two or more convictions can add 20 percent to your insurance policy
  • Legal Eagle. Avoid bus lanes and observe parking regulations to avoid paying unnecessary fines. Lots of parking can now be paid through your mobile phone — register to avoid being caught without the right change.

Taxing Savings.

Tax your van for 12 months rather than six to save money.

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