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Fuel economy

Fuel prices are consistently reaching record levels around the globe. Oil, the main ingredient in the petrol that fuels our vehicles is a finite resource on this earth. So knowing how to improve the efficiency not only saves our planet, but will save you a significant amount of money in your pocket. 

RELATED: Find the best fuel prices in your area

We've assembled some tips on the best ways to improve the fuel efficiency of your driving. Here they are in no particular order:

Purchase a fuel-efficient car

The best way to save money on fuel is to drive a fuel-efficient car. We know it's not the most practical tip telling you to replace your current car for something that uses less in fuel, but if you're in the market for a new vehicle, keep fuel economy in mind. NRMA has a number of car reviews on the most frugal of petrol sippers as well as diesel alternatives.

Keep your vehicle well maintained

A car in poor running condition will use more fuel than one that has been serviced regularly. A dirty air filter can increase fuel usage by up to 20%, whilst spark plugs in poor condition can increase fuel usage by up to 12%. At NRMA car servicing we offer a wide range of services to suite your vehicle, our Major Service includes a change in spark plugs amongst other important safety checks, to book simply call NRMA car servicing on 1300 223 544 or book online.

Be wary of fuel-saving devises and additives

Consumer groups tell us that most fuel-saving products are bogus: Be wary of any fuel-saving claims including; electronic devices, oil and gas additives. Even in the rare cases they have been found to save fuel, these savings have been very small. Save your money.

Keep tyres properly inflated

Under inflated tyres aren't just dangerous - they seriously hurt your fuel economy some say by as much as 25%. Over inflated tyres are no better and cause other problems like premature tyre wear. You should try and keep your tyres balanced and in alignment. Bring your vehicle to an NRMA car servicing and we can check the balance and alignment of your wheels to book simply call NRMA car servicing on 1300 223 544 or book online.

Alter your commute time

If possible, schedule your trips and errands for times when there is less traffic on the road. You will spend less time doing you errands and save on fuel at the same time. Ask your work if you can try coming in earlier or later to avoid rush hour.

Combine your trips

If you know you have to go to the shops, visit the dry cleaner and take the kids all over town, combine these multiple trips into one.

Lighten your load

The heavier your vehicle, the more fuel it will use to get itself around. Make sure you don't carry around unnecessary items in your car and your fuel efficiency will be better for it. We don't suggest trying to save weight by taking out your spare wheel though.

Reduce drag

Nearly half of the energy your vehicle develops is used trying to push it's way through the air surrounding it. (The other half is used in acceleration.) Items like roof racks, bike racks, ski racks, and that neat spoiler your son added all increase your vehicles drag rating which has a direct impact on fuel efficiency.

Avoid filling up before long weekends and public holidays

The price of fuel is cyclical, there will be point in the week when it is at it's highest and a corresponding point when it is lowest. It used to be predictable which day the low cycle would fall on; however it now bounces all over the place. What you can predict though is that in the lead up to a public holiday, the price will go through the roof.

Don't go out of your way to save a few cents on fuel

If it's convenient to shop at a cheaper place by all means stop, but don't drive across town just to save a few cents per litre. It doesn't make sense to go out of your way to save a few dollars on one tank. It might even cost you more to get there than you will save.

Buy your fuel during the colder times of the day

Like all liquids, gasoline will be denser (more of it a smaller space) when it is cold and less dense with heat. Your service stations fuel pump measures volume, not the densities of the fuel it's pumping, so you will get more fuel for your money.

Use the right octane level for your car

Using premium fuel in an engine designed to run on regular doesn't improve performance. Even some vehicles that call for higher octane fuels can run on regular unleaded, though with some loss of performance (Check your owner's manual.) You can save money by using the lowest octane rated fuel that your car will tolerate.

Don't top off your tank

Trust the auto-shutoff. Overfilling can lead to wasted fuel through spilling and excess evaporation.

Be sure your fuel cap is tight

Improperly seated fuel caps allow millions of litres of fuel to vaporise every year. A properly sealed cap will keep the vaporised fuel where it belongs – in your tank.

Drive at a constant moderate speed

You are probably the best fuel saving device you know. If you want to improve fuel efficiency you need to monitor the way you drive. The most fuel efficient driving style is to accelerate slowly and complete your braking over a longer distance. Aside from purchasing a new fuel efficient vehicle, this is the single most effective step you can take to reduce your costs.

Use cruise control

You might be the smoothest driver on the planet but your driving speed will fluctuate. Cruise control takes the human element out of the equation, and keeps driving speeds steady. It's the easy way to drive at a constant moderate pace.

Don't idle

Turn off your engine if you'll be idling for more than thirty seconds. Starting your vehicle does use a burst of fuel, but not as much as allowing the engine to idle too long.

Anticipate stop signs and lights

Plan ahead. The less you have to stop, the better your fuel efficiency. Alter your vehicles speed to try and take advantage of green lights. Laugh at the other road users who sprint from red to red.

Keep your cool

Most people claim that it makes more sense to use air conditioning on the highway and to roll down the windows in traffic. It's commonly claimed that this method is going to reduce your fuel economy by about 10%. But according to research, there's no real difference between driving with the windows down or using the air, just don't run your air conditioner with the windows open.)

Drive less!

Walk, ride your bike, take public transit, carpool or combine errands. The less you drive, the less you'll spend on fuel.

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