Want to save on your fuel bill?

  • 19 January 2012
  • Home Energy Centre
It's that time of year where most of us are off on holidays and we seem to always be in our cars, whether we are traveling or sightseeing what are some things we can do to help make us drive more efficiently and save on fuel costs? ENERGYWISE™ have some great tips for us.

The way we drive and care for our cars really affects how much fuel we use - up to 20% more than we need to use in some cases. This is a waste of money as well as being bad for the environment.

By making a few small changes to your driving style and keeping your car well-tuned you can easily reduce your fuel bill. Using 20% less fuel over five years is like saving an entire year's worth of fuel - which means savings for you and good news for the planet.

Calculate your fuel economy

The first step to improving your fuel economy is knowing exactly how much fuel your car is using right now. You can calculate exactly how much fuel you are using by following the steps below next time you fill up.

  • Make a note of where your fuel gauge needle is, for example empty, a quarter full
  • Fill up your car and keep your fuel docket which shows how many litres you bought
  • Reset the trip meter before you drive off
  • Drive around as you normally would. When the fuel gauge reaches the same point as in step 1, write down the distance you have travelled from the trip meter
  • To find out your fuel economy in litres per 100 km, divide the number of litres of fuel used by the distance travelled, then multiply this figure by 100.
  • Your result - the smaller the number, the better your result.

You can also find out what fuel consumption to expect from a car of your make and model, and compare it to other similar cars using Fuel$aver.

Fuel-saving tips

You can make big reductions in the amount of fuel you use by following these tips. The winners of the 2010 AA ENERGYWISE™ Rally Driver Award (the greatest improvement on the vehicles stated fuel economy) beat the stated fuel consumption of their car, Subaru WRX STI, by 23%. Proof that driving well really does make a difference.

If we all cut our fuel use by 20%, New Zealand would save over 620 million litres of fuel each year - that's like taking 500,000 cars off our roads.

Check your tyre pressure monthl

If it's too low, your car has to work harder to overcome the extra resistance - and it can impact on the way the car handles and brakes
Shift to higher gears early.

Change at around 2,000 to 2,500 rpm. If you drive an automatic, allow the transmission to change up early by accelerating gently on a light throttle.

Drive smoothly

Maintain a steady speed, using the highest gear possible without straining the engine. Speed up, slow down and brake gently and smoothly, provided it is safe to do so.

Look ahead

Check what's happening ahead so you can adjust your speed early, and maintain a safe following distance. It's better for your fuel economy to slow down early rather than brake too late.

Corner smoothly

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

Make hills work for you

Build up speed before an uphill stretch. Go up hills in the highest possible gear with almost full pressure on the accelerator. Lift the throttle as you crest the hill and use the car's momentum to get you over the top.

Watch your speed

By traveling at 90 km/h instead of 100 km/h, you can cut around 10% off your fuel bill.

Reduce your idling time

Idling just wastes fuel - if you're going to be stationary for more than 30 seconds, switch off your engine. Avoid parking for long periods with your engine idling, steer clear of driving in peak traffic when you can, and don't turn on your engine until you're ready to drive.

Care for your car

A well-maintained car uses less fuel than an inadequately maintained one. Regular servicing including replacing oil and air filters as required, the right tyres for the conditions and proper wheel alignment can all make a difference.

Keep your load down and your car streamlined

Extra load and drag will add to you car's fuel use. If you're not using something - like golf clubs or the pram - take it out of the car. Reduce drag by taking off roof racks/boxes and cycle racks when you don't need them.

Watch your air-con

Air conditioning can add up to 10% to your fuel bill, so only use it when you really need it. Other features like the rear window demist can also be a drain, so switch them off when they've done their job.

Plan your journey

A well-planned journey will get you to your destination in the quickest and easiest way - which means less fuel and time wasted
More information.

Read this ENERGYWISE™ article http://www.energywise.govt.nz/how-to-be-energy-efficient/travelling-and-vehicles/driving-efficiently-and-saving-on-your-fuel-bill and more here.

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