Nine ways to save fuel and get the most kilometres from your tank

02 May 2019 - 11:55 By Thomas Falkiner
Save Fuel. We tell you how.
Save Fuel. We tell you how.
Image: Supplied

The price of fuel keeps on rising and according to analysts there will be further increases in the months ahead. So to help you squeeze the most kilometres from your tank here are nine handy tips to maximise your time travelling between the pumps. 

1: Check your tyre pressure

Underinflated tyres increase the rolling resistance between your vehicle and road it’s travelling on. This means that you car has to burn more fuel to overcome all this extra drag and friction. Research has shown that correctly inflated tyres can increase your gas mileage by about 3.3%, so make sure yours are checked regularly.

2: Drive smoothly

A car’s engine uses the most fuel during bouts of hard acceleration. So try and accelerate away from a standstill as smoothly as possible. Be gentle with the pedal and don’t push it all the way to the floor (pretend it’s made from glass). It is equally important to look ahead and preempt the flow of traffic. This way you can avoid hard braking and keep your rolling momentum going for longer.

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3: Idling isn’t ideal

Never keep your car’s engine idling for longer than a minute or so. Reason being is that this burns unnecessary amounts of fuel and also expends more combustion gasses into the atmosphere. So if caught in a stop-go road maintenance scenario, for example, it’s best to turn off your engine until the path ahead is open again. Simple.

4: Shift gears sooner

This one is pretty self-explanatory. The higher you rev the more fuel you will burn. Rev lower between each shift and you will certainly use less of the precious liquid sloshing around in your tank. In other words, swap cogs like an old person.

5: Reduce drag at all costs

Things like roof and bicycle racks ruin the fuel efficiency of your vehicle by creating unnecessary aerodynamic drag. Take them off when not in use to get the most out of every drop. The same goes for open windows and sunroofs: keep them shut.

6: Keep your car clean

Carrying unnecessary amounts of baggage around in your car increases its kerb weight. And increased weight, no matter how small, will always have a negative effect on fuel efficiency. As such you should regularly purge your boot and back seats of any junk that doesn’t have to be there.

7: Avoid rush hour

This isn’t always possible but try, if you can, to drive to and from work before or after rush hour sets in. The incessant idling and stop-start driving conditions will send your fuel consumption figures through the roof. You can also use smartphone apps like Waze to make sure your route isn’t extra-congested from an accident or similar traffic drama. 

8: Never skimp on servicing

If your car is running on old engine oil, breathing through a clogged air-filter and sucking petrol through a dirty fuel filter then it can never be expected to perform at its efficiency peak. Therefore it’s crucial to ensure that you stick, religiously, to the service intervals dictated in your vehicle’s user manual. Failure to do so will not just increase your overall fuel consumption but also decrease your engine’s performance.

9: Try put a freeze on the air-conditioning

The air-conditioning unit in your car contains a compressor pump driven by the engine. When the air-con is used, the compressor uses power from your engine, thus increasing the work it has do and the amount of fuel it needs to keep going. When you can, try and limit the use of your air-conditioner to maximise the mileage of every tank of fuel.


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