Top driving tips to save petrol

Must See 02/10/2018

With experts warning fuel prices could hit $2.70 by next year, every drop of fuel starts burning a hole in motorists' pockets.

Now is the time to double-down on your fuel-saving strategies to save yourself money - so Newshub has compiled the best advice for you to get the most out of your fuel tank.

Don't speed

Driving too fast chews through the fuel.

"Driving faster doesn't necessarily mean you'll get there faster," the AA says. "Plus, by travelling at 100km/h instead of 110km/h, you can cut around 13 percent off your fuel bill."

Maintain tyre pressure

Using the incorrect tyre pressure can increase your fuel consumption, so it's worth checking your tyre pressure once a month to keep it at the optimal level.

"If your tyres are under-inflated, their rolling resistance increases. This means they need more energy or fuel to make them turn," the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) says.

"Tyres that are underinflated can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 4 percent. In battery electric vehicles, higher rolling resistance will likely affect your range."

Watch the air conditioning

As we head into the warmer months, it becomes more difficult to keep cool.

But should you use your windows or the aircon? The EECA has an easy way to tell.

"Use air conditioning and close the windows when you're on the highway or travelling over 50km/h," the EECA says on its site.

"Open windows and turn off the air conditioning when driving below 50km/h."

Take off roof racks

Roof racks are useful, especially if you want to carry bikes, kayaks, skis or extra luggage. But they come with a cost.

Using roof racks increases aerodynamic drag and decreases your vehicle's fuel efficiency. Take them off when they're not in use to streamline your vehicle.

According to a US study published in the journal Energy Policy, the fuel consumption penalty can be as high as 25 percent on passenger cars.

"The additional fuel consumption caused by roof racks is about six times larger than anticipated fuel savings from fuel cell vehicles and 40 percent of anticipated fuel savings from battery electric vehicles in 2040," the authors write.

Drive smoothly

Accelerating hard then braking wastes fuel for no reason.

"Accelerate smoothly and slowly away from green lights and stop gradually for red lights. Change gear early, but don't labour the engine," the AA says.

"If you drive an automatic, allow the transmission to change up early by accelerating on a light throttle. Don't accelerate hard from rest, but let the car move off gently."

Keep your load down

Carrying excess weight increases the load on the motor and will hit you at the pump.

There's no need to get into carbon fibre car components though - consider easy fixes like taking luggage like golf clubs out of the boot when it's not being used.

Towing will also dramatically increase fuel consumption, so if you don't need the trailer then take it off.

Reduce idling time

Idling in your car wastes fuel for no reason, so avoid parking for long periods with your engine on.

Try and drive around peak-hour traffic times to escape stop-start traffic - and if you are stationary for longer than 30 seconds, turn your engine off.

Avoid short trips

"Walk to the dairy. About a third of New Zealand car trips are less than two kilometres in length, and vehicles use more fuel when they're cold," the AA says.

"Cut down on unnecessary driving and reduce your fuel bills; mechanical wear on your engine and contribute to better air quality."