Reverse Your Petrol Bill

Posted on: 31 July 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Did you know you can save up to £2 of fuel per week by simply reversing your car into a parking space, so you drive away forwards?

As well as positioning your vehicle into a safer position to pull away, there are many benefits of reverse parking to both your vehicle, and your pocket.

New data from the IAM Motoring Trust shows it takes an average five-year-old car 90 seconds for the engine to warm up, and the most efficient way to warm it up is by driving it.

Reversing out of a space when the car's engine is cold uses around 20 to 25 times more petrol in the first few seconds than it does when warm. If you do this 10 to 12 times a week that adds up to a cost of about £100 a year, not to mention the increased wear on the car’s engine.

Reverse parking is also usually safer and is advised in The Highway Code. Reversing into somewhere you can see such as a parking bay rather than reversing out into somewhere you can’t see, often a line of moving traffic, is much safer.

It is also easier to control a car going forwards than backwards when it is first started, and attempting a potentially high risk manoeuvre such as reversing when you have just entered a car and are not concentrating fully, is more dangerous.

From a security point of view, reversing close to an object such as a wall can make it more difficult for thieves to gain access and, if you need to leave a parking space quickly for personal security reasons, driving forward provides you with better acceleration and improved vision.

Many drivers find it helpful to lower the left mirror to provide a guide to your lateral position.

Another option, where all the parking spaces run in parallel rows, is to line your car up with the space in front and reverse back in a straight line. This should automatically position you in the centre of the space - but do remember to look where you are going!

Do you reverse into parking bays or your driveway? Does the amount you could save on petrol by reverse parking surprise you?

Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below. Alternatively, share your thoughts in the 50connect forums.

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More driving tips from the Institute of Advanced Motorists can be found at

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