Cutting motoring costs by planning journeys
I wrote about motoring costs in last week’s thrifty blog, but my drive down the motorway got me thinking. I sometimes use Google maps to plan a journey and that can save you time and fuel. My journey on Sunday according to Google maps was 12.8 miles and should take about 20 minutes. It took less than that because it was Sunday and so it didn’t seem far. However, I came back on the ‘A’ roads and that didn’t seem too far either. When I checked the shortest route is just 4.3 miles and it should be quicker! On a Sunday it would have been quicker, but on a weekday perhaps not, going through town. You can click that link to Google maps to see what I mean.
I have done further research because my sat nav (GPS) tends to direct me to motorways unless I choose the ‘avoid motorways’ option. I planned a couple more journeys and found one was 11.1 miles and it would take about 17 minutes, by ‘A’ roads it was 6.9 miles and take a little longer at 23 minutes. Which route would be easiest and use less fuel? The motorway was busy and so that would be stressful and a 50 mph limit was in operation. If I went the ‘A’ road route, I would be in 5th gear most of the way, but would have to stop at traffic lights much more. I think the route on the ‘A’ roads would have used slightly less fuel. I would perhaps have saved 30p in fuel, but if you’re driving a lot, that would mount up.
By a strange coincidence I did have to drive yesterday evening. I tried to plan my journey using Google maps and I used my sat nav. I entered the name of the road into the sat nav and followed the directions. The roads I had to go down used to have a 40 mph limit but one was reduced to 30 and so traffic builds up there. Now because it’s hard to cross the road, the other road has been made a 30 limit too. Cars seem to drive in long convoys at 30 making it hard to cross the road. The planners respond with more traffic lights to help people cross, but that results in even longer convoys. I followed a convoy, feeling frustrated and bored. I finally arrived at my ‘destination’, but I was the opposite end of the long road that I entered into the sat nav. You need to be specific or that can take you a longer route. It did on the next leg of my journey, I made the same mistake again! Coming home, I decided on fastest route and it took me a different way to the way I normally come home; but it was fast. It chose a dual carriageway with a 50 mph limit, rather than the A road with a 30 limit. I suppose to come home my usual way, I should choose shortest route, rather than fastest route. The problem sometimes with shortest route is I find myself going down side streets that have those dreaded humps and coping with the crazy traffic calming. Kerbs sticking out into the road and that means keep slowing down and stopping and you use more fuel. The planners of course have high salaries paid for by council tax payers so fuel costs are not a worry to them!
Overall, by planning journeys and being careful with setting your sat nav, I think you can save 10% off fuel costs at least. It makes you think when petrol prices are so high. That is the equivalent of 13p off a litre of petrol! With careful driving and planning you can save much more.
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