10 easy ways to save fuel

15 August 2008

10 easy ways to save fuel

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Love your car!

A little love goes a long way. Regular servicing, the right tyres for the conditions, correct tyre pressure and wheel alignment make a difference. A well-maintained car can use 10 to 20% less fuel than an inadequately maintained one.

Don't speed

Driving faster doesn't necessarily mean you'll get there faster, plus by travelling at 100km/h instead of 110km/h you can cut around 13% off your fuel bill.

Drive smoothly

Lay off the pedals when driving around town. Accelerate smoothly and slowly away from green lights and stop gradually for red lights. Change gear early (but don't labour the engine). If you drive an automatic, allow the transmission to change up early by accelerating on a light throttle. Don't accelerate hard from rest, but let the car move off gently.

Look ahead

Check what's happening, maintain a safe following distance and you'll keep at a more constant speed. Look ahead and ease off the pedal if the traffic lights are about to change, if the speed limit is about to lower, or you're approaching slow or stopped traffic. It's better economically to slow down early rather than brake late.

Corner smoothly

Don't brake hard for corners and accelerate out. Slow gently, negotiate and exit the corner on a light throttle.

Make hills work for you

Lift off the throttle as you crest the hill and use the car's momentum to get you over the top. Build up speed before an uphill stretch.

Watch your air con

Using air conditioning is more fuel efficient than having your windows down, which creates drag. However, use air conditioning judiciously because it will use up to 8% more fuel. Other features such as the rear window demist can also be a drain, so make sure you switch them off when they've done their job.

Keep your load down

Sounds obvious, but a heavier vehicle means the engine has to work harder. So take those golf clubs out of the boot after the game or remove the bike rack or roof rack when you're not using them.

Reduce idling time

Don't park for long periods with your engine idling and avoid peak hour traffic where ever possible. If you're stationary for more than 30 seconds turn your engine off.

Avoid short trips

Walk to the dairy. About a third of New Zealand car trips are less than two kilometers in length and vehicles use more fuel when they're cold. Cut down on unnecessary driving and reduce your fuel bills, mechanical wear on your engine and contribute to better air quality.

Savings you can make

AA tests last year revealed the following fuel saving results from these actions:

  • Poor driving style - used almost 20% more
  • Added weight and drag - used 11.11% more
  • Incorrect tyre pressures - used 7.76% more
  • Air conditioning off - saved 8.68%*
  • Using fuel-efficient tyres - saved 4.71%

Note: the AA advises drivers to use air conditioning judiciously - if you’re feeling tired, keep it on.

2 comments


24 September 2011 | By ScottyD2

Another idea to save fuel is to check spark plugs and leads on a regular basis to make sure they still have spark and electrodes to make sure they are in good conditon. Having good working spark plugs means a better performing engine.

9 September 2011 | By kittie

thankyou for the invaluable advice. I do carry out most of the above, but I will undertake the other points

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