You’ve probably found yourself being patronised recently by some rent-a-hack’s five-point guide to saving fuel.
You know the sort of thing: the imminent arrival of the £6 gallon has brought us a rash of unwanted advice as to how to keep petrol costs in check. This usually involves supergluing windows shut, driving largely naked to save weight and – with wince-inducing obviousness – not accelerating quite so hard.
Where’s the fun in that? Which is why, inspired by the seminal 1970s advertisement that told us to save water by sharing a bath with a friend, I’ve come up with my own guide to getting more miles from your tank.
Disconnect the fuel gauge
No, really. Pull out the wiring, paint over it or prise it out with a screwdriver. Now you’ll drive like you’re leading a funeral procession to maximise the range left in your tank, and to avoid the humiliation of having to complete the journey on foot.
Buy a V8
The best way to break the drive-everywhere habit is to have a vehicle capable of gargling unleaded quicker than the late, great Oliver Reed could work his way down a set of bar optics. So while diesel-engined superminis buzz everywhere flat out, you’ll instinctively learn the joys of tickling the throttle, coasting down hills in neutral and slipstreaming trucks on the motorway.
Make friends with your chip shop owner
If you’ve been contemplating leaving your wife/ hubby/ significant other for the proprietor of the local takeaway emporium, this is the time to do it. Why? Because the fast food outlets create vast quantities of used cooking oil which – after a bit of filtering – can be used to power less fussy diesels.
Okay, you’re not going to be the first person to have thought of the idea – it feels like every national newspaper has suggested the chippy route in the last couple of weeks – but the advantage is zero-cost motoring. Even better, in a rare outbreak of joined-up thinking, the Government allows you to use up to 2500 litres of chip oil a year in your car without paying the Revenue anything for the privilege.
Pick up hikers
Actually touting yourself as a minicab without the necessary documentation has certain legal ramifications (although that doesn’t seem to stop many of those who cluster around nightclubs at chucking-out time in ‘H’-reg Primeras) – but there’s nothing to stop you from sharing the costs of your journey with any passengers.
And can you imagine the better way to wipe the grin off the face of student thumb-jockeying his way back from Glastonbury than by presenting him with half the bill for filling your ancient Range Rover or BMW 535i?