Seven ways to save on fuel

With summer and the festive season just around the corner, many of us can expect to be hitting the open road a little more than usual. Whether it be driving to visit family and friends or taking trips along the coast, more time behind the wheel means more time at the fuel pump, and less cash in the account.

These seven simple tips from will help you hit the road without fear of blowing the budget.

Find cheap fuel
Keep an eye on the petrol tank and consider planning refuelling stops ahead of time. Petrol prices fluctuate greatly, and some servos in rural areas make the most of limited competition and push up the rates. You can use a number of apps that help you track petrol prices across the country. The best apps as assessed by CHOICE are Fuel Map Australia, GasBuddy, Motor Mouth, Petrol Spy Australia and Simples Fuel. Different apps may be better for different states.

Know your speed
Every car has an optimal speed for fuel efficiency, knowing yours can help reduce the amount of petrol you burn when driving. Generally speaking, fuel consumption increases drastically over 96 kilometres per hour. Research shows that you can save up to 20 per cent on fuel costs simply by driving at 100 kilometres or less on highways. Using cruise control to ensure that you don’t unknowingly speed up can help you save.

Cool, calm and collected
The next time you see an aggressive driver on the roads, take solace in knowing their petrol bill is likely higher than yours – 33 per cent higher than yours to be precise. Zooming up to high speeds and then slamming on the brakes is a great way to waste petrol and money, so be sure to play it cool on the roads.

Buy the right petrol
Have a look at the owner’s manual in your vehicle to check what kind of petrol your car is meant to take. If it’s been designed to run on regular, there’s no point filling it up with more expensive fuel as a ‘treat’ because this won’t help it to run any better.

Use the window
Don’t be that person who drives around on a 30-degree day with a jumper on and the aircon blasting. If you need to cool down, try cracking the window to let the breeze in. According to ZOOMER, using your air conditioner too much can increase your petrol use by 10 to 20 per cent.

Pack smart
The lighter and more aerodynamic your vehicle is, the more fuel efficient it is. This means that strapping surfboards or roof packs to the top of your car is going to increase your fuel consumption. The same goes with packing heavy or unnecessary items. If you’re going on a long drive, it’s worth sitting down and thinking through everything you’ll need and how you’ll fit it all in your car.

Love your car (and it will love you back)
Taking good care of your car can save you money in the long run. According to ZOOMER, keeping your car’s engine well maintained can reduce fuel mileage by up to 10 per cent. Consult the owner’s manual to check how often you should be changing the oil, filters, spark plugs and engine coolant in your car, and regularly check tyre pressure. If your mechanic finds and fixes a more serious problem like a faulty oxygen sensor, it may improve fuel mileage by as much as 40 per cent.  

Are you expecting to go on any road trips this summer? How do you save money on the road?

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