10 Simple Ways to Save Money on Fuel

LET'S PLAY A GAME: Once you start to try all the below top fuel saving ideas, we suggest you play a game with yourself. Reset the trip metre every time you fill up your car with fuel. The aim of the game is to make your fuel last longer with each tank by following the below suggestions. The lower the litres per 100km, the better the fuel usage.

1. Tyres, Tyres, Tyres

PRESSURE: Properly inflated tires distribute your vehicle's weight evenly and make the correct amount of contact with the road surface. Check the pressure of your tyres when they are cold because you will get an incorrect reading on warmer tyres. Inflate your car's tyres to the highest pressure that is recommended by the manufacture. On newer vehicles, the recommended tire pressure is usually found on a sticker on the inside of the driver's door. If you can't see a sticker there, you should be able to find this information in the owner's manual.

ALIGNMENT: Your car's wheel alignment also plays a huge role in fuel economy. If the alignment is out, your car will be struggling to grip on the road and this will increase the amount of fuel required to move your car.

2. Avoid Excess Weight

This is an easy one, remove all things in your car (bags, soccer balls, helmets, golf clubs etc) that you don't need. Extra weight decreases your fuel economy. The heavier your car is, the more fuel it requires to 'push' it through the air, which increases your fuel usage.

3. Air Con - On and Off?

When driving slowly in stop-start city mode: Turn the AC off and roll down your car windows to keep cool.

When driving on the highway at speeds of over 80 km/h: It's a better option to close the windows to reduce drag and turn on the AC as this will keep you cool and save fuel.

TIP: If it is hotter inside your car than outside when you start a trip, drive with the windows down for a few minutes to help cool the car before starting the air conditioning.

4. Minimise Aerodynamic Drag

Whilst on the subject of drag and weight, any additional parts on the exterior of your vehicle, like roof racks and spoilers, or having the window open, will increase air resistance and fuel consumption. Take extras off when you're not using them as this will again assist with the aerodynamic drag, leaving them fitted will increase the wind resistance and drag of your vehicle. This requires more fuel to 'push' your vehicle through the air, which increases your fuel usage.

TIP: If you're using your roof racks, use a streamlined cargo box or spread out the items so they are not too high, this will help to keep resistance down.

5. Use the Correct Fuel

Did you know, ethanol (used in E10 unleaded) has a lower volatility than normal fuel, so more is required to provide the same performance? This increases fuel consumption, so you will need to fill up with fuel more often.

Most modern vehicles can run on E10 unleaded, which is cheaper. However, although it costs a little more to fill your car with premium fuel, you'll notice the difference after a few times. You'll start to see your fuel economy increase and may also notice a slight improvement in your car's performance.

If you have a European or performance vehicle, it will probably require a premium fuel (the required fuel for your vehicle is usually listed on the inside of the fuel flap). If you run regular or E10 in your car, this can cause performance issues due to lower octane fuel pre-igniting and can cause premature engine damage if it continues.

6. Speed Demons Beware

Driving your car at extreme speeds will cause your engine to be less efficient. Fuel consumption considerably increases when you drive 110 km/h or over. Cruising at 90 -100km/h, using the cruise control function, will help to maintain a steadier speed, allowing your vehicle to be more efficient, which will save you fuel.

7. Use the Right Gear

MANUAL: Without accelerating harder than is necessary, change up a gear when the car is comfortable with the higher gear.

AUTOMATIC: Ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car gathers momentum and the car will shift up more quickly and smoothly. Don't drop the car into a lower gear to gain more power as this will use more fuel.

8. Smooth Moving!

Ease off on the accelerator! The more you rev the more fuel you will use. Being quick off the mark from traffic lights, or tailgating the car in front of you, aside from being annoying and dangerous, will mean your car uses more fuel. Slowing down and speeding up constantly like this will result in burning more fuel. Stop/start driving is much less efficient and more polluting than driving consistently at controlled speeds.

TIP: Imagine there is a raw egg under the accelerator and you're not allowed to crack it!

9. Keep Your Car Happy

Ensuring that you get your car serviced regularly, in line with the manufacturer's logbook, and replacing spark plugs and fuel filters consistently, will keep your car happy and running for longer without any hitches.

TIP: Using the correct grade of oil equals better fuel economy. Thicker oil or older oil can increase fuel consumption because the moving parts of the engine must work harder to move through it.

SPECIAL OFFER: Quote this article and receive a FREE 8 Point Service Check-Up including 10% off any parts and labour. Book your service (for any make or model) here: Tweed Coast Mazda and Tweed Coast Nissan.

10. Trade Your Old Car in for a Newer Car with Better Fuel Consumption

An older car can chew considerably more litres of fuel per 100 kilometres that the newer vehicles on the market, costing you money in the long run.

Would you upgrade your current car to a brand-new car, with better fuel consumption, if your repayments where similar to your present payments?

Give Darren (Tweed Coast Nissan) or Zac (Tweed Coast Mazda) a call on 07 5506 900 if you would like to see exactly what your upgrade would cost you. We are sure that you'll be very surprised to see that you could be driving away in a brand-new or demo vehicle with very similar repayments to what you're paying now.

EXTRA TIP: A Special Technique Used by Daniel Ricciardo, Australian Formula One Racing Driver

The Lift and Coast Technique

This is a special technique used by Formula One racing drivers like Daniel Ricciardo. Lift your foot off the accelerator, shortly before breaking, thus letting the car coast and save energy by not driving at full throttle all the time. Racing drivers do this because they only have a certain amount of energy per vehicle per race, and permanently driving at full throttle uses too much energy. So, they must make sure they manage their energy efficiently and not use it up too quickly.