10 Ways to Save Fuel

Reduce your usage and save money on the road.
Published on December 7th, 2020
  Written by 
Adrian Edlington
Adrian Edlington is PR & Communications Manager at Savvy. With a keen interest in personal finance, car loans, the mortgage industry, cost of living pressures, electric vehicles and renewable technology, Adrian's research includes conducting primary data surveys and analysis of up-to-the-minute secondary Australian data sources. His work on behalf of Savvy has been featured on ABC.net.au The Conversation, the Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, News.com.au, The Age, Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, SBS On The Money, 7News, Car Expert, Which Car, Drive.com.au and more. In his spare time, Adrian enjoys mountain biking and business podcasts.
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   Commentary by 
Bill Tsouvalas

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Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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In today's world of fluctuating fuel prices and environmental concerns, finding ways to save fuel has become increasingly important for both your wallet and the planet. Whether you're a daily commuter or a road trip enthusiast, implementing fuel-saving strategies can help you stretch your mileage and reduce your carbon footprint. In this blog, we explore a variety of tips and techniques to help you save fuel and ultimately save money on the road.

1. Maintain your vehicle

Regular maintenance not only ensures optimal fuel efficiency but also extends the lifespan of your vehicle. Schedule routine check-ups with a trusted mechanic to address any issues promptly and keep your car running smoothly. Tasks such as regular oil changes, air filter replacements and tyre rotations are critical for maintaining engine efficiency and reducing fuel consumption. Additionally, monitoring your vehicle's fluid levels and addressing any warning lights or unusual noises promptly can prevent more significant issues that may impact fuel efficiency.

2. Drive smoothly

Aggressive driving habits, such as rapid acceleration and braking, can significantly impact fuel consumption. Instead, practise smooth and steady driving techniques. In addition to saving fuel, smooth driving also reduces wear and tear on your vehicle's components, leading to fewer repairs and maintenance costs in the long run. It’s important to stay aware on the road to avoid sudden manoeuvres that waste fuel and increase risk. Accelerate gradually, maintain a steady speed and anticipate stops well in advance to minimise the need for sudden braking.

3. Avoid idling

Idling wastes fuel and emits unnecessary pollutants into the air. If you anticipate stopping for more than a minute, consider turning off your engine – though use common sense and safety precautions, especially in traffic or extreme weather conditions. Additionally, consider alternative strategies for staying comfortable while parked, such as using battery-powered fans or portable cooling devices instead of idling your engine to run the air conditioning. Modern vehicles are designed to restart easily, so the fuel saved by turning off your engine outweighs the minimal extra wear on the starter.

4. Reduce aerodynamic drag

Aerodynamic drag or air resistance can decrease fuel efficiency, especially at higher speeds. Reduce drag by removing roof racks and cargo carriers when not in use. Keeping windows closed at high speeds and maintaining a clean and waxed exterior can also improve aerodynamics.

5. Plan your routes

Planning your routes in advance can help you avoid traffic congestion and minimise unnecessary driving. Use navigation apps to find the most efficient routes and avoid heavy traffic areas whenever possible. By avoiding congested roads and taking the most direct paths, you can save time, fuel and frustration during your travels. You can also consolidate errands to reduce the number of trips you need to make. Combining multiple tasks into one trip can help reduce overall mileage and save fuel. It can also save you time and reduce stress.

6. Travel light

Carrying excess weight in your vehicle can reduce fuel efficiency. Remove unnecessary items from your car, such as sports equipment or tools, when not in use. Additionally, avoid storing heavy items on your roof, as this can increase aerodynamic drag and decrease fuel efficiency. Regularly clean out your car's interior and trunk to remove unnecessary items and keep your vehicle's weight to a minimum. Avoid using your vehicle as a storage space for heavy or bulky items that are not essential for your travels, and consider investing in lightweight luggage and storage solutions to maximise space without adding unnecessary weight. Remember that every pound of extra weight requires more fuel to move, so prioritise efficiency when packing for your trips.

7. Use air conditioning wisely

While air conditioning provides comfort during hot weather, it can also increase fuel consumption. To maximise fuel efficiency, use air conditioning sparingly and set it to a moderate temperature. Avoid running the AC on full blast unnecessarily, especially at lower speeds or when driving short distances. Consider using the vehicle's ventilation system or opening windows to cool down the cabin when possible. Additionally, parking in shaded areas and using sunshades can help reduce the need for excessive cooling and minimise fuel consumption.

8. Consider alternative transportation

If convenient and accessible, explore eco-friendly alternatives like public transport, cycling or carpooling to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and lower your carbon footprint. Not only will you save money on fuel, but you'll also contribute to less congestion and pollution on the roads. Take advantage of car-sharing services or ride-hailing apps to minimise your individual carbon footprint while still enjoying the convenience of personal transportation. Additionally, consider combining multiple modes of transportation, such as biking to a nearby transit station or walking instead of driving for your commute, to further reduce your environmental impact and promote sustainable travel habits.

9. Monitor your fuel consumption

With petrol prices on the rise, it’s important to be aware of how much fuel you are using by regularly checking your mileage and fuel consumption patterns. You can use this to identify areas for improvement and refine your driving habits accordingly. Pay attention to factors that may impact fuel efficiency, such as changes in driving conditions, weather or vehicle maintenance, and adjust your driving style accordingly. Consider keeping a fuel consumption log or using a mobile app to track your mileage and fuel expenses over time, allowing you to monitor trends and identify opportunities for fuel savings.

10. Invest in a fuel-efficient vehicle

If you're in the market for a new car, prioritise fuel efficiency when choosing your next vehicle. Look for models with lower L/100km ratings and advanced fuel-saving technologies to maximise your savings at the pump. Consider factors such as vehicle size, engine type and driving habits. Additionally, explore alternative fuel options such as hybrid or electric vehicles to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and minimise your environmental impact. Remember to research and compare fuel economy ratings and ownership costs across different makes and models to make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and sustainability goals.

Bill Tsouvalas, Managing Director at Savvy, said:

"Rising fuel prices are putting increasing pressure on Australian households. Combined with growing environmental concerns, it’s more important than ever to watch our fuel consumption to both save money at the pump and reduce our carbon footprint."

Whether you're a daily commuter or a weekend road warrior, making small changes to your driving habits and vehicle maintenance routine can add up to significant fuel savings over time. So, hit the road with confidence, knowing that you're doing your part to conserve fuel and protect the planet.

If you have your eye on a fuel-efficient model or any other type of car, you can turn to Savvy to help you complete your purchase. Using our loan comparison service, you can compare offers from a range of lenders to find on a deal that suits. Get started today with a free, no-obligation quote!

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