Save Money as you Drive

July 5th, 2022

Save Money As You Drive

At no time in Australian history have automotive fuel prices reached the levels of mid-2022. People who use fuel want the price per litre to be reduced and some even say they will trade a vehicle that uses lots of fuel on one that is more economical. However, there ways to use less fuel and lower your costs without doing anything extreme. Here are a few strategies worth considering.

  1. PLAN YOUR TRIPS

Do you travel the same stretch of road multiple times in one day or each week? Planning meals in advance and shopping for all the ingredients you need in one trip can save several litres of fuel a week and $300-500 a year. When shopping for other items, you can do the legwork online then video call the store and ask to see a sample before setting out to buy. Then there are kids who need to attend different activities on different days and all in different directions. Offer to take one lot of kids – yours and their friends – to one activity in exchange for having the others transported by other parents

2. ACCELERATE GENTLY AND KNOW YOUR ENGINE

Being first away from the lights will also put you first in the refuelling queue as well. Gentle acceleration and using cruise control where possible will help save fuel. Also check the internet to find the engine speed where your vehicle develops its maximum torque. Change gears – in a manual or automatic – at just above that engine speed, then when you start accelerating again, the engine will be close to its most efficient rev range and not over-revving or struggling.

3. CAR SHARE OR CARPOOL

Who in the building or on the site where you work lives in the same area as you? To find out, put signs in communal areas that includes your locality, contact details and the times you need to arrive at work and leave. Finding a friend to drive on alternate days or weeks will cut the distance you drive by half and save a huge amount in fuel.

4. TRY THE TRAIN

A lot of people don’t like train commuting because it’s hard to get a seat in peak hour or a space in the commuter carpark. So, here’s a tip. Instead of queuing at a close-by but crowded station, find one a few stops further out with the same level of train services but fewer people using it. That minor extension of travel time will pretty much guarantee a parking spot and a seat.  

5. PUMP UP YOUR TYRES

Car makers encourage owners to run pressures that enhance ride quality but don’t encourage tyres to work efficiently. A few extra Kpa will lighten your steering, reduce tyre wear and make the tyres roll more easily to reduce fuel consumption.

6. GET RID OF THE RUBBISH

What’s in you boot, in the back of the ute or on the roof that doesn’t need to be there? It’s surprisingly easy to have 50kg of unnecessary weight rattling about an ordinary passenger vehicle and lots more than that in a commercial vehicle. And that roof-rack that sings and howls when the wind catches it is only creating drag and wrecking economy when not in use.

7. DON’T WASTE TIME WARMING THE ENGINE OR SITTING STILL

Cars with an effective thermostat will warm the engine very effectively while being driven rather than sitting in the driveway waiting for the temp gauge to move. If you have an older model with a manual choke, use it for just a short time after the car starts then apply the least amount of throttle to keep moving until the engine is warm.

8. DON’T RUN ABOUT WITH A FULL TANK

Unless you see fuel at a bargain price and buying a tankful will save considerable money, just buy as much as you need for the next few days’ driving. A full tank can add 60 or 70kg to the vehicle’s weight and that weight needs fuel to move it about.

9. IS THERE A SMARTER WAY TO GET THERE?

Some people make the same journey at the same time of day using the same roads as they have for years, perhaps even going the same way as their parents did. If you have access to GPS, set the system to Most Direct Route and see if it takes you a different way. Perhaps that way involves more traffic or a nasty intersection, in which case don’t use it again. However, it might also avoid idling at several sets of traffic lights and shave a few kilometres off your journey.

10. GET YOUR CAR SERVICED

Clogged air and fuel filters, old spark plugs, leads and air sensors all reduce the efficiency of an engine and increase the amount of fuel it needs. Having old components replaced and the vehicle electronically tuned will cost the same as a few tanks of fuel and over the course of a year will more than pay for itself.                                     

If your fuel saving strategy involves driving fewer kilometres than last year, a visit to  www.enthusiast.com.au may be worthwhile as well. Enthusiast rewards drivers who keep an eye on how far they drive and you could save plenty with Enthusiast’s ‘Drive Less….Spend Less’ insurance cover. Just click on the link and select Quick Quote.

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