Road trip tips: How to save fuel on a long-haul trip

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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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Written by livga


Total Comments: 1
  1. 0

    Interesting article about travel,I was told many things to ensure good fuel consumption,stay a recommended distance to the vehicle in front using your engine as a brake,Eliminate hard braking,manual gearbox don’t labor in gear find the sweet spot,tire pressure is critical,under pressure the car will be slow meaning more gas pedal,to high rough ride both high and low will increase tire wear,on the open road yes use cruise control bring it about 5/10ks under max,this means you still move all nicely the engine revs are constant,use the manufacturer recommended radiator additive don’t use water,a cool running engine is a happy engine,the big fuel issue is what’s available,it’s a shame Ford dropped the dedicated gas engines,the BARRA 4.0 liter is state of the art,cheap on parts ,every man and his dog now how to repair,fuel consumption is reasonable in the lazy straight six,touring Australia this is the ultimate choice,the wagons are exceptional,make sure you instal a cargo barrier to stop you wearing all your clothes at the same time,you have 2 passenger doors plus rear,so those who aren’t as nimble can still work around,I’m not to sure about load area dimensions but check them out,good ones can be obtained around $4000 but spend it wise and then you can do some preventive maintenance,I reckon you look after it you will get close to your money back when you sell,you don’t need a 4WD to tour Australia,the running costs and maintenance costs are up there,if you want to do it cheap as you can a gas wagon is the way to go,I have just purchased a 07 Falcon RTV Ute which has everything comfort wise to tour for 2 years while waiting for pension portability cost was $3500 came with WA license of course you have all the transfer fees but it is dedicated gas has air that works no leaks has a locking rear differential wider wheel track and higher suspension (the people who sold it didn’t know it was different) what I will do then is build a camper out of 75mm cool room panels,I’m surprised more people are not doing it,it will be a slide on configuration so you can jack up and drive the Ute away,the dimensions will be 5 m long 2 m wide 2m high tools required…battery drill ,angle grinder,pop rivet gun,good silicone and a tape measure,you could frame it out in 3 days all the inside will be smaller size cool room panels,the panels are white smooth color bond metal with glued styrofoam inside,it will be pure solar panels 12 volt but will have 240volt on 1or2 locations for caravan parks,the benifit of not towing but carrying is better fuel no exta wheels you can go to the shops,if you want to put on the ferry you pay for one vehicle,if you build the right package (camper cost with everything including the kitchen sink)$5000 Ute $4000 brings it under $10000,you could sell that all day and make a profit which help pays for the trip,also if you don’t have a house (principle place of residency) you can claim accordingly to Centerlink your park fees to a certain value…I apologize for the ranting but there are a lot of avenues out their to tour our great land and cheap,do your own research to suit your circumstances this my own personal way to enjoy travel and my own views ,my goal is to do it for nothing,get the entitled pension,and sell everything at the end,(ps..I plan to put the unit on the boat to Tasmania and NZ and see more splendor) I hope to see you on the road we can have a chat…seize the day



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