Eco-drive your dollar further


Simple driving strategies can save you money and help the environment.

Car panel showing fuel consumption

Australians are buying environmentally friendly electric vehicles (EVs) in increasing numbers.

The Electric Vehicle Council’s State of Electric Vehicles 2021 report revealed 8688 EVs were sold in the first half of 2021*, compared with 6900 for the whole of 2020.

This trend will continue as more models become available and prices come down.

However, owning a more fuel-efficient or zero-emission vehicle is not an immediate option for many of us.

There are simple driving techniques that can reduce fuel use and emissions, helping the environment and your budget.

Fuel-efficient driving, also called ecodriving, encompasses driver behaviours, vehicle maintenance and non-driving actions, which can deliver fuel savings of 5-10 percent**.

“One of the benefits of eco-driving is the reduction in fuel consumption is cumulative – the more strategies used the less fuel is consumed,” RACQ Head of Public Policy Susan Furze said.

Most cars have fuel consumption gauges and drivers can see how their fuel use decreases when using one or more of the strategies.

Driving smoothly is crucial to achieving better fuel economy so the more you brake and accelerate, the more fuel is consumed.

This applies in urban environments and on open roads.

In a manual vehicle, shift through the gears as quickly as possible and always use the highest gear possible as less revs equals less fuel used.

Modern vehicles are designed for fuel efficiency and regular servicing will reduce fuel use.

Maintain tyres at the maximum recommended inflation as this will reduce wear and tear and rolling resistance. Think how much effort it is to push a wheelbarrow with a flat tyre.

Reducing the impact of weight and drag on your vehicle also increases fuel efficiency.

Excess weight can add up, especially if items are heavy, such as tools.

Removing roof racks may seem minor, but they can cause a lot of wind resistance.

Consider ways you can spend less time behind the wheel.

The less time you spend on the road, the less emissions you are creating.

Trip planning (finding the shortest route), sharing trips with others and trip chaining (doing a number of errands in one outing) reduce kilometres travelled.

Ultimately, active alternative such as walking, riding or using public transport will also reduce your emissions and all three options provide an opportunity to relax and unwind in our ever-busier world.

Eco-driving tips

Driving strategies

 Vehicle strategies 

  Non-driving actions

  • Watch ahead and cruise smoothly.
  • Brake and accelerate gently.
  • Use the right gear for the conditions.
  • Shift through the gears as quickly as possible.
  • Maintain a steady cruising speed on highways.
  • Use cruise control where appropriate.
  • Maintain tyre pressure – keep your tyres inflated to the maximum level.
  • Service your car to the manufacturer’s schedule.
  • Remove excess weight and reduce aerodynamic drag.
  • Take off roof racks.
  • Monitor your fuel use.
  • Don’t park and idle.
  • Minimise air-conditioner use.
  • Plan your trips – avoid congestion, combine trips and share rides.
  • Consider walking, cycling and public transport.

*Sales figures based on Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) data and the Electric Vehicle Council’s Tesla estimate. Tesla does not disclose local sales figures.

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Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.