With petrol prices hitting record highs in recent days, many motorists may be wondering how to cut down on filling up the tank.
1. Make sure your tyres are pumped correctly.
The Automobile Association (AA) has found incorrect tyre pressure uses nearly 8 per cent more petrol than having them pumped the correct amount. Correct pressure varies among tyre and car types, so check your vehicle handbook or online. Under-inflated tyres can add up to 2 per cent to your fuel consumption, as well as wearing them out sooner, which also costs you money.
Making sure your tyres are running at their correct pressures is not only a fuel-saver, it can also be a life-saver too, so checking them regularly is always a good idea.
Wheel alignment can also make a decent difference to your fuel consumption, so make sure that is correct as well.
2. Try to avoid rush hour
Idling for long periods and constant stopping and starting uses more fuel than a smooth run from A to B.
The AA says turning your engine off if you’re stuck in traffic for longer than 30 seconds is better than keeping the car running, and the MTA recommends planning ahead to run errands during off-peak times.
3. Don’t speed
According to the MTA, fuel consumption increases by about 6 per cent for every 10km/h faster you go over 90km/h. For most drivers, 100km/h is a good compromise between travel time and fuel economy.
4. Keep your load light
A bag of golf clubs in the boot or a pair of bikes making an unnecessary trip to the supermarket on the roof rack mean more petrol is needed to propel your car around, the AA says. Reduce your load and only take what you need with you.
5. Use your aircon – but only for a little bit
It seems counterintuitive, but opening your windows to cool the car down is actually less fuel efficient than using the air conditioning because it creates drag, the AA says.
However blasting the A/C or leaving the back window demister on after they’ve done their job is an unnecessary drain on fuel.
6. Take care of your car
Regular services and tune-ups could reduce your fuel consumption by up to four per cent, the MTA says.
The AA puts the numbers even higher, saying a well-maintained car can use 10 to 20 per cent less fuel than one that’s badly looked after.
Using the correct oil recommended by your car’s manufacturer – and changing it regularly – can also improve fuel consumption.
7. Drive smoothly
Don’t accelerate aggressively, as this uses more fuel than necessary. Smooth starts and stops help conserve petrol.
8. The simplest way to cut down on petrol costs is to drive less
Short trips to the dairy don’t need to be done in the car, and the AA estimates a third of trips in New Zealand are less than 2km long.
Starting your car from cold uses more fuel, so it’s more efficient to run all your errands at once if possible.
9. Buy at Dawn or Dusk
Believe it or not, fuel expands and contracts in hot and cold conditions. During a frosty morning fuel is in its densest form which means you actually get slightly more combustible matter with every litre. Buying fuel first thing in the morning or very late in afternoon or at night will save you a little bit of money and increase your driving range.
10. Car Pooling
If your daily commute goes anywhere near a work colleague’s or colleagues’ house, car pooling could be a great way to save money. It can be especially economical if you’re traveling a decent distance between home and work, for example, and there are two or three of you that all live in nearby areas. Alternating drivers from week to week means you might only use your car once every third week.
11. Buy a more economical vehicle
It might seem like a costly expense to start with, but after time, owning a more efficient vehicle could save you in the long run.
Modern vehicles are getting more and more efficient. Manufacturers have to meet tightening emission and fuel consumption laws, which means they have to hone their engineering and come up with innovative technologies to reduce fuel consumption on their vehicles.
Running around in an old car can seem like a cool idea, but for daily commuting old cars chew through more fuel compared with modern ones. If you keep a newer car maintained and follow all of the steps above you could save on your fuel costs.
With a Loansmart car loan, you could go shopping for a more economical car in the next few days – apply online. Typically our car loans when approved are drawn down to a nominated bank account in less than 24 hours.