From emptying your trunk to removing your roof racks, here are some of the surprising tricks drivers can use to save hundreds of dollars on gas every year.
- Using less gas is more important than ever as prices head towards $2.50 a liter
- Car owners can improve their car’s fuel efficiency and save hundreds of dollars a year
- Tips include emptying a car’s trunk, removing roof racks and turning off the engine at red lights
Fuel efficiency is more important than ever, as gas prices rapidly head towards $2.50 a liter and travel becomes increasingly unaffordable.
Automotive editor Darryl Starr, better known as The Country Driver, has logged nearly three million miles in 50 years and says these tips could cut your fuel costs by 25%.
Mr Starr said that despite huge advances in technology to make cars more fuel efficient, many decades-old techniques are still important for increasing fuel efficiency.
“These little things have been around for years. It just takes retraining your brain to think back a few years to what your parents and grandparents did,” Starr said.
Going fast is expensive
Not only is speeding dangerous, but it is also expensive.
“When your speed isn’t consistent, you’re using more fuel and spending more money than you need to. Use cruise control for highway driving where conditions permit,” Starr said.
“Most modern vehicles are fuel efficient when traveling at less than 90 km/h.”
These simple tips will ensure that the car consumes less gas.
“Accelerate gently away from traffic lights and maintain a steady speed,” Mr. Starr said.
“Read the traffic in front of you to see what it is doing to avoid hard braking or changing gears.
“Avoid high speeds and obey the speed limit.”
Car maintenance saves money
Regular car maintenance can cost money in the short term, but Mr Starr said you’ll save money in the end.
“Make sure your tire pressure is correct. Check them monthly so that the rolling resistance is within the manufacturer’s recommendations,” Starr said.
“It’s the same with roof racks, bike racks and heavy objects in the trunk of the car. If you only use the car for running around town, try to keep these things out of the way. and help reduce the weight a bit to use less fuel.
“Fuel consumption in a mid-size car, for example, increases by one percent for every 25 pounds of weight you carry.”
What you should not do
Mr Starr said it was important not to leave your car running to warm it up as that was now pointless and a waste of fuel.
Modern cars are designed to be drivable immediately, as long as the revs are reduced for the first mile.
Mr. Starr recommends turning off your engine if it’s stopped at lights for more than 60 seconds.
Air conditioning should also not be left running and should be used sparingly, as it can increase a vehicle’s fuel consumption by up to 20%.
Time to sell the car?
A driver cannot do much to influence the fuel efficiency of his car, so much depends on the brand of the car.
“If you’re driving around in a nice, small, light Corolla with a small engine, you’re essentially going to have more fuel efficiency than a bigger SUV that’s heavier and has a smaller engine, so it works a lot harder” , said Robbie Fidler, managing director of sales and operations at the Motor Trade Association NSW.
“Things like that make a really big difference to your fuel mileage.
Many people are now making the decision not to pay for the more expensive premium fuels, opting instead for cheaper gasolines like E10.
Is it safe to do this if the car has always been full of bounty?
“So it could be 91, 95 and 98. Some cars run on E10, but many manufacturers don’t recommend it.”
Are manual cars cheaper to operate?
While historically a manual car was considered more fuel efficient, in modern cars this is not necessarily the case.
Mr Starr said most automatic cars today with six-, seven- or eight-speed transmissions are more fuel efficient than a six-speed manual.