Summer is here, and we are all keen to leap behind the wheel and join the thousands of other happy motorists clogging up the public highways and queuing to reach crowded seafronts and parks all around the country every weekend.

In addition to being a little trying on the patience, all that extra time in the car can get expensive too. Here are our top six tips for keeping your summer motoring finances in check.

1) Monitor fuel prices

How many pence per litre did you pay last time you filled your tank? Fairly obviously, the main cost is petrol or diesel, but you would be amazed how many people fill up without even looking at the price, so if your answer was “No idea,” you are not alone. 

Oil prices have gone down considerably in recent weeks, sparking something of a price war at the pumps. Supermarkets are generally, but not always, cheaper, and whatever you do, try to avoid filling up at the motorway services unless you have to. A quick look at prices across the country saw a variation of 10p per litre. That equates to well over £5.00 for a tank of fuel.

2) Ditch the weight

How much junk are you carrying around in the back of the car? No, not Granny, all that stuff that has accumulated in the boot. It really can make a big difference. Also, remove the roof bars or roof box unless you are using them. As well as extra weight, they add wind resistance too.

3) Drive economically

Fuel consumption is all down to you, the driver. By avoiding sharp acceleration and braking, you don’t just give everyone a smoother ride; you also use far less petrol. Another useful tip is to keep your speed down. Cruising at 70mph uses around 25 per cent less fuel than cruising at 80mph, and has the added benefit of being legal!

4) Look after your car

Cars have service and maintenance schedules for a reason. Driving with under-inflated tyres not only puts yourself and your family at risk, it also means your car is working harder and using more fuel. Check the car has been properly serviced too – the idea is to have it operating at optimum efficiency.

5) Let them cook

This might not make you the most popular person with the rest of the family but only use the air conditioning if you really need it. It adds a significant load to the engine and causes a corresponding drop in fuel economy. Many people have the AC on permanently, which is not necessary in the British climate!

6) Plan ahead 

Think about your route before you leave. Don’t just dive straight for the fastest or shortest way from A to B, but consider how busy the roads will be. Keep an ear on the local radio, and be ready to divert if there is trouble ahead. After all, there is no point burning fuel in a queue of stationary traffic if you can avoid it.