Tips to save fuel on your next road trip

Road Trip

Get the most out of a tank of fuel on your next adventure.

Car being refuelled at petrol station.

Follow these tips to help you get to your destination more fuel-efficiently.

Estimate the cost of fuel for a trip

Before setting off, have an idea of the fuel costs you need to budget for. To estimate the fuel cost for a trip, you must know the trip distance, the average per litre cost of fuel and the vehicle’s fuel consumption.

The process is as follows

  • Divide the trip distance by 100.
  • Multiply the result of this by fuel consumption.
  • Then multiply this figure by the cost of fuel/litre.


  1. 815 km divided by 100 = 8.15.
  2. 8.15 multiplied by 9 (litres per 100km) = 73.35.
  3. 73.35 multiplied by $2.00 (per litre) = $147.

Prepare your vehicle

If your car hasn’t had a tune up and service for a while, it’s a good idea to have it done before you set off. Mechanics can replace spark plugs, fuel filters and air filters.

To get the most out of every drop of fuel, check the cold tyre pressures and condition before setting off and during the trip. Use the correct tyre pressure as recommended in the owners’ manual. Take note of any recommendations about increasing the pressure for high speed and high load operation.

Pack wisely

When packing, consider the weight of your vehicle and/or caravan. The heavier it is, the more fuel you will use.

Roof loads can add significant wind drag which will add to fuel consumption. Avoid roof racks wherever possible. 

If towing, pay special attention to the weight of items in the trailer. With caravans, once everything is loaded weigh the caravan to check that it doesn’t exceed its capacity.

Preparing for your next road trip? Use RACQ’s Trip Planner and tailor your journey. RACQ members can also save 4 cents per litre on fuel at Puma Energy and browse local areas for the lowest fuel prices with the RACQ Fair Fuel Price App.

Use eco-driving techniques

By adopting RACQ's eco-driving techniques you can reduce both your fuel bill and your carbon dioxide emissions.

The more you brake and accelerate, the more fuel is consumed, so driving as smoothly as possible is an easy way to stretch your tank further. 

For drivers of a manual car, shifting through the gears as quickly as possible will improve your fuel efficiency, while for those driving an automatic, gentle acceleration will keep the car in as high a gear as possible.

Regardless of transmission type, using cruise control on the highway can cut your fuel use.

Maintaining the correct tyre pressure, removing any excess weight, and reducing aerodynamic drag – such as roof racks and spoilers – also helps boost fuel efficiency.

Getting stuck in traffic involves a lot of stop-start driving which increases fuel consumption by an estimated 30%, so planning ahead to avoid congestion where you can is also important.

Other easy-to-follow tips include not idling if you’re parked and, as the weather gets cooler, minimising your airconditioner use can help save petrol and reduce emissions.

Click here for more eco-driving information.

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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.