Fuel efficiency can vary by as much as 45 per cent between different drivers in identical cars.
Accelerating quickly and frequent accelerating and braking uses much more fuel than accelerating gently then maintaining a steady speed.
Driving smoothly means:
- looking beyond the car ahead and anticipating traffic conditions
- keeping a buffer zone between you and the car ahead to avoid unnecessary acceleration and braking
- lifting off the accelerator early when slowing down, to take advantage of the car’s momentum; getting back to cruising speed from rolling uses far less fuel than stopping and starting again.
Reduce your speed
Speed kills economy — a car travelling at 110 km/h can use 30 per cent more fuel for a journey than at 80 km/h.
Pump up those tyres
Underinflated tyres can significantly reduce your fuel economy.
Check your tyre pressures at least once a month. Do it when the tyres are cold and always replace the valve cap to keep out dust and water. Recommended tyre pressures are shown on a plaque that is usually on the edge of the driver’s door or inside the glovebox. Inflate tyres (including the spare) to the highest pressure recommended by the manufacturer.
Looking after your tyres will not only reduce your fuel consumption — it will also extend tyre life and improve your car’s handling.
Service your vehicle regularly
Having a well-tuned engine can save 10 per cent on fuel consumption.
Cars should be regularly serviced and properly tuned in accordance with the service manual: usually every six months or 10,000 km — whichever occurs first.
Fortnightly checks of oil, coolant, brake fluid and the battery are also important for the efficient functioning of your vehicle. Repair leaks as soon as possible to avoid contamination of water and soil. Ensure your wheels are aligned, as this will extend the life of your tyres and improve fuel efficiency.
Make sure you heed warning lights on the car instrument panel. Any changes to the sound or feel of your car, such as a rattle or unusual movement in the steering or pedals can be an early indication of a problem that needs to be checked.
Plan your trips
The most effective way to save fuel is to use your vehicle less.
Think about your travel needs. Planned travel decisions will result in fewer trips and more efficient/cheaper travel than unplanned decisions made ‘on the go’. Here are some travel planning tips:
- Plan to do a number of errands in one trip, rather than taking several trips
- Walk or cycle — aside from saving money, you’ll get some exercise
- Avoid peak-hour traffic whenever possible
- Use public transport — it’s often cheaper and allows you to do other things while you travel.