Fuel economy

Smart driving techniques and a little planning can significantly improve fuel economy

  •  For best economy, drive smoothly and avoid accelerating harder than required 
  • Look ahead in traffic and drive as smoothly as possible 
  • Try to maintain a steady safe speed. Accelerating, slowing, and accelerating again wastes fuel
  • Use the gearbox sensibly. Driving in a lower gear than necessary and revving the engine hard wastes fuel.  Change up through the gears as soon as practical, but not so the engine labours
  • An automatic transmission will shift up through the gears quicker if you ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car has gained sufficient speed 
  • If your car's auto transmission has an economy mode (you may need to check your owner's handbook), use it
  • Fuel consumption increases with speed. Travelling at 110km/h instead of 90km/h could increase fuel use by as much as 25 percent 
  • Use cruise control (if fitted) during highway driving to maintain a steadier cruising speed 
  • Avoid prolonged engine idling. Switch off the engine if delays are expected to be lengthy
  • Warming up an engine before driving away wastes fuel
  • Avoid heavy traffic if possible. Reschedule your trip or use an alternative route to avoid congestion 
  • A cold engine is less fuel-efficient and emits more pollutants so plan your travel to minimise cold starts
  • Using your car's air conditioner sparingly.  If it doesn't have air conditioning, leave the windows up and use the ventilation system to reduce aerodynamic drag when travelling over about 50 km/h 

Care for your car and save

Proper servicing and maintenance will help to ensure your car ‘s longevity and reliability 
  • Keep the engine correctly tuned, filters in good condition, the fuel and ignition systems operating correctly
  • Change engine oil and filter as specified
  • Use the recommended grade of oil 
  • If your car is fitted with a carburettor, ensure the choke is correctly adjusted to reduce petrol wastage 
  • Low tyre pressure increases rolling resistance and fuel use
  • Setting pressures slightly higher than specified can improve fuel economy                                                                     
  • Incorrect wheel alignment increases rolling resistance and fuel use
  • Carrying unnecessary weight increases fuel use 
  • Roof racks etc. increase wind resistance and fuel use 

Think transport options                                                                                                                                                                             
The less you use your car, the less fuel it will use 
  • Consider alternatives such as public transport, car-pooling, walking or riding a bike 
  • Ask yourself if the trip is necessary 
  • If you have more than one car, use the more fuel efficient one when practical

Choose the right Car

Think critically about your motoring needs. 
  • A car that is bigger and more powerful than you really need will end up costing more in fuel and operating costs 
  • When choosing between cars, compare their relative fuel efficiencies. A label fitted to the windscreen of new cars will help you to compare the relative fuel efficiency of vehicles 
  • If you are considering a 4WD, ask yourself if you really have sufficient use for this style of vehicle, as the cost of owning and running one can be considerable 
  • If you have a two car household, consider making one of these a small car and using it whenever practical in preference to the larger one

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