THERE have been four increases in the price of fuel this year, and more are expected. In order to help motorists through these tough times, the Ford Motor Company’s Driving Skills for Life programme has revealed a few fuel saving tips to help soothe your wallet. 1. DRIVE SMOOTHLY Ford studies have shown that motorists can slash both their fuel bill and their emissions by as much as 25% by adopting a less aggressive driving style. This means accelerating smoothly, braking softer and earlier, not constantly changing lanes, and not speeding. Not only do these driving techniques save fuel, they can prolong the life of your brakes and tyres. 2. SLOW DOWN By driving at 90 km/h instead of 100 km/h, you can improve your fuel efficiency. Also, aim for a constant speed. Pumping the accelerator sends more fuel into the engine, emptying the tank faster. 3. NO IDLING Start the car and gently drive away. Don't leave your car idling. Prolonged idling increases emissions and wastes fuel. Turn the engine off whenever it is safe to do so, such as when stationary 4. REMOVE UNNECESSARY CARGO Reducing the amount of cargo you keep in your boot or back seat can improve your fuel efficiency as less energy is needed for acceleration. Try to travel as light as possible, and keep only the most important items — like an emergency kit, jumper cables, a small tool set, and a small jack — in the vehicle. 5. REDUCE AERODYNAMIC DRAG Attaching a huge carrier or bike to the roof adds more wind resistance. If you spend lots of time on the highway, or are planning a long trip, try to transport extra items inside the vehicle or attached to the rear. Keeping your windows and sunroof closed can also lower wind resistance. 6. USE CRUISE CONTROL Activating cruise control keeps you from mindlessly driving faster, and by maintaining a constant speed, you won't use additional fuel while accelerating. Try to set the cruise control at your vehicle's most fuel-efficient speed, as long as it's at or below the legal limit. However, for safety reasons, you should never use cruise control when it's raining. 7. COMBINE TRIPS Many short trips will use more fuel than a single, longer trip. So, when you have to drive for errands, try and group as many of them as possible into one trip. 8. KEEP YOUR ENGINE TUNED Fixing a vehicle that is noticeably out of tune can improve fuel economy. For example, replacing a malfunctioning oxygen sensor can improve your mileage by as much as 40%. 9. KEEP YOUR TYRES PROPERLY INFLATED The optimum inflation pressure can be found on a sticker, usually located inside the driver's door. Don't exceed the optimum tyre pressure, because over-inflating tyres reduces their performance in terms of both traction and life-span. 10. USE THE RECOMMENDED GRADE OF MOTOR OIL Following the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil in your owner's guide will keep your engine's lubrication system working as efficiently as possible.