Follow these simple tips to help make your car go further between fills.
1. Drive economically
Around town, you’ll use less fuel if you:
- Drive smoothly and try to maintain a steady speed
- Use the gearbox sensibly, and change up through the gears as soon as practical
- If you drive an automatic, ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car has gained sufficient speed
- Avoid peak hour and other heavy traffic where possible
- Avoid engine idling for long periods.
On the freeway, you’ll use less fuel if you:
- Reduce speed - you can reduce your fuel consumption by as much as 25% by taking 20 km/h off your speed
- Use cruise control if you’ve got it
- Use your car’s air conditioner sparingly
- Keep the windows up and use the ventilation system when travelling over about 50 km/h, if your car doesn’t have air conditioning
- If your car’s transmission has power and economy modes, use the economy mode to ensure the transmission up-shifts earlier.
All of the above tips also help reduce wear and tear on your car’s brakes, tyres and the other mechanical parts. So you’ll save on running costs too.
2. Care for your car and save
Get your car serviced regularly to keep its running costs down and to help save on fuel. As part of caring for your car, you should:
- Keep the engine correctly tuned
- Keep filters in good condition
- Keep the fuel and ignition systems in good working order
- Regularly change the engine oil using the correct grade of oil as recommended by the manufacturer.
3. Inflate tyres correctly
Check your tyre pressure once a week, when the tyres are cold.
Keep your tyres inflated to a pressure slightly higher than that stated in the vehicle handbook (you can also find the tyre pressure on the tyre placard, which is typically inside the glove box, on the driver’s door or on the fuel filler flap). Setting the tyre pressure slightly higher will aid in fuel economy and safer handling.
4. Check the wheel alignment
Ensure the wheel alignment is correctly set and the brakes aren’t dragging, as these can both increase rolling resistance – and chew up more fuel.
5. Check your load
If you can, reduce the amount of gear in your car. Things like golf clubs and toolboxes add unnecessary weight, which in turn increases fuel consumption.
External attachments such as roof racks will increase wind resistance and fuel use. If possible remove them when not in use; and when you are using them, load them carefully to minimise wind resistance.
6. Use the smaller of two cars
If your household has two or more cars, use the more fuel efficient one wherever possible. Get into the habit of using the others only when necessary.
If you’re in the market for a new car, consider fuel efficiency. You can compare their relative fuel efficiencies by checking the Green Vehicle Guide website.
7. Be wary of fuel savings devices
There are many devices on the market claiming to improve your car's performance and save buckets of fuel. Very few have been proven to work by repeatable scientific tests.
If you’re considering such devices, do your research carefully. Only consider products that are proven by a properly accredited local testing authority using the Australian Standard 4430.2 test protocol. Australian Standard 4430.2 is an internationally recognised test that was specifically devised to test products that claim to improve performance and reduce fuel consumption.
Also consider the economics of installing the device itself, and weigh up how long will it take to recoup the cost of installation against future fuel savings.
8. Use your car less
One of the best ways to save on fuel costs is to stop using your car so much! Explore other options like public transport, car pooling, walking or riding a bike.
If you must use your car, try to combine a few smaller trips into one. A cold engine is less fuel-efficient and emits more pollutants than a warm engine, so several shorter trips will use more fuel than one longer trip.
Fuel Saving Myths - the truth about driving tips to save fuel
We've all heard about various ways to save money on our fuel bill but do they actually work? Our fuel experts looked into some of the more common myths to see which ones save fuel and which ones don't. Have you really been saving fuel? Watch us bust the myths!
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