Motoring News

Driving tips that can cut your fuel use

We are all too aware that the cost of living has headed north, with households feeling the pinch of high inflation and rising prices. At times this year, the price of regular petrol has hit an eye-watering $3 a litre– making standing at the pump, watching those numbers tick over quite a stressful event.

There’s not much you can do about the price of petrol. But you can make tweaks to the way you drive, and how you run your car, which can cut your fuel use and reduce your maintenance costs.


The art of eco-driving

How much difference can the art of eco-driving really make? You might be surprised. When 50 AA staff in the UK trialled these techniques, they saved an average of 10% on their weekly fuel costs – and one person saved 33%.

To help you with that, here are some simple and easy things you can do to help cut your fuel use.

Before you set out

  • Remove any extra weight you’re carrying in the car: you’ll not only improve your efficiency, but also your braking time. So, take out those golf clubs or gym gears that you’re not planning to use.
  • Take off the roof racks. Leave them at home until you need them – they’re just creating drag.
  • Plan ahead. Combine smaller trips into one journey and take the fastest routes to your destinations.

While you’re driving

  • Keep calm. This can be really hard to do at times, but the more aggressively you drive, the more fuel you use. Try to drive smoothly, corner steadily, and have a light touch on the accelerator.
  • Keep rolling – it uses less fuel than starting and stopping, so watch the traffic and slow down early for lights and queues.
  • Does your vehicle have an eco or fuel saver mode? Now’s the time to use it.
  • Stick to the speed limit.
  • Be savvy with your air conditioning. If you do need to cool your car, open the windows at low speeds and use air conditioning at higher speeds when it makes less difference to fuel consumption.
  • Switch off any unnecessary electrics – the worst culprit is heated seats.

Prevention is cheaper than cure when it comes to maintenance

A well-maintained car will run at peak efficiency. When you have your car serviced regularly, you’ll likely spot problems while they’re still minor. If you wait until your car won’t start or you have a breakdown, the cost of repairs will probably be much higher.

Tyre pressure is also an important aspect of fuel economy. Underinflated tyres not only put you at risk of a blowout (expensive!), but they can also reduce fuel efficiency by up to 4%, according to Gen Less.

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Fuel efficiency tips for your specific vehicle

Try the Gen Less Fuel Efficient Driving Tool to identify ways you can improve your economy. It uses your rego, then asks some questions about your habits, before giving you an estimate on how much you could save by making the suggested changes.

It’s a win-win-win

There’s no real downside to making these changes, and the benefits can be substantial. A lower fuel bill is money straight into your pocket, and you’ll also reduce your maintenance costs, prevent speeding tickets, and decrease your carbon emissions.

For more on this topic, you can read our articles about fuel myths busted, calculating your fuel consumption, or the best fuel-efficient compact cars under $30,000

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