ARE the latest fuel price hikes driving you mad?

The cost of running a car has increased by nearly 20 per cent, with petrol up from an average of £1.06 a litre to £1.27 since last May.

With most of us using our cars more frequently now, saving money at the pump is more important than ever.

Make fuel go further for less with these tips . . . 

GROUP YOUR ERRANDS: If you can, combine your daily tasks into one big trip. It means less time in the car and less fuel used.

SHOP AROUND: is the best-known comparison site, but also has a fuel section. It is worth a look – I found prices ranging from £1.33 per litre to £1.25.

For a 20-litre top-up that would be either £26.60 or £25, so a saving of £1.60.

PLAN YOUR ROUTE: If you are going on a long drive, use a price comparison tool to work out where to fill up along the way. Just a short detour off the motorway can help you dodge inflated pump prices at service stations.

RACK OFF: The heavier your car, the more fuel it needs to move the weight. The Energy Saving Trust says an empty roof rack adds 16 per cent drag when driving at 75mph.

At the same speed, a roof box adds 39 per cent, making your vehicle much less fuel efficient. A boot clear-out always helps, too.

WINDOWS OF OPPORTUNITY: Air-conditioning uses engine power and so increases your fuel consumption. Maybe just open a window or two.

CHECK OVER YOUR CAR: It is worth knowing that everything in your car is in good order, because leaks or damage can cost a lot in the long run. Book in for a free five-point safety check at Halfords, especially if you are heading off on a road trip soon.

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