Fuel-saving tips for road trips

Filling up at the bowser in Australia - NRMA tips to save money Filling up with fuel at the servo

While you can't control the price at the bowser, there are some things you can do to help your vehicle's fuel consumption and stretch your holiday dollars further when planning a road trip or driving holiday.

Check fuel prices in your area

Depending on your location and what point it is in the fuel price cycle, you could save upwards of $20 per tank by simply checking the fuel price finder in the my nrma app. Service stations in NSW are legally bound to make live fuel price data available so motorists can make informed choices. 


One of the most commonly neglected areas of a vehicle, tyres are also the only connection between you and terra firma.

Your vehicle is likely to be loaded with gear, passengers and even a trailer, so before you check your tyre pressure, have a close look at the tyre placard fitted to your vehicle. There will be a minimum and maximum pressure recommendation depending on the load - the maximum is the one to use. Check your spare, as well!

The correct tyre pressures will reduce rolling resistance and fuel consumption by up to two per cent, and there's another upside - the correct pressures will maximise tyre life.

While you're at it, check the tread depth of your tyres. The minimum legal requirement is 1.6mm across the contact area of the tyre, and there are wear indicators built into the tread to make checking the depth simple. If they are close to the indicators, don't hesitate - it's better to replace them before they get too low.

Unnecessary luggage

Spring-clean the luggage compartment, even if it's not spring! Don't keep heavy gear like golf clubs, your sports kit or tools in your vehicle if you're not using them. Aim to pack light as extra weight increases fuel consumption, particularly in urban areas where you're often accelerating and braking. The NRMA has found that loading a vehicle up to its maximum-rated weight results in fuel consumption increasing by up to 24% compared with an identical unladen vehicle.

Take off roof racks if they're not required - they add to aerodynamic drag which increases fuel consumption by up to five per cent.

Service check

Most new cars have a service indicator light to tell you when your next service is due, but it's good to check how close the service is, especially if you're going away for an extended period.

Check the service booklet which should be stamped. If in doubt, check the owner's handbook, because the intervals are time and distance based - whatever comes first.

Older cars (pre-1986) can go out of tune between services, increasing fuel consumption but even on newer vehicles with electronic engine management, replacing a dirty air filter can improve fuel consumption.

Other fuel saving tips

  • Drive sensibly - avoid harsh braking and quick acceleration and make use of cruise control if you have it.
  • Use your Member benefits - as an NRMA Member you can save up to 5 cents per litre on Premium fuels and up to 3 cents per litre on regular fuels every time you fill up at participating Ampol and Caltex service stations. Simply download the my nrma app and show the QR code when you pay to receive your Member discount. Watch out for exclusive savings such as double discounts to save even more.

For more fuel saving tips, read our Top 10 tips to save fuel and How to find the cheapest fuel prices Sydney.

Exclusive fuel savings at Ampol

Save 5 cents per litre on Vortex Premium fuels and 3 cent per litre on regular fuels
with NRMA Blue for $5 a month