10 Tips to help you save on fuel
Want to cut the fuel bill? Here's how
If you're serious about saving fuel, there's actually a lot you can do to achieve it:
1. ACCELERATE SMOOTHLY FROM PULL OFF
Pulling off smoothly from standstill, avoiding wheelspin, and selecting the next gear as soon as possible are some of the most significant ways of saving fuel. If your vehicle has a gear change indicator, use it! It’s been designed to tell you to swap cogs at optimum points in the engine’s power and torque bands.
2. MAINTAIN A CONSTANT SPEED
Once on the move, try to maintain a constant velocity within the speed limit, always using the highest gear possible to keep momentum. Try not to press the accelerator too far to the floor – rather change down a gear so that lighter throttle inputs can be applied. On the open road, try to maintain a steady throttle position. If your vehicle is equipped with cruise control, use it! It will help you to save fuel.
3. TURN OFF THE AIR-CONDITIONING
Any load on a car’s electrical system makes the engine work harder – and, in the process, it consumes more fuel. Turning off the air-con when it is not needed will help to keep fuel consumption down.
4. STICK TO THE SPEED LIMIT
On long trips it’s tempting to ignore the law and travel above the speed limit. However, not only do you run the risk of incurring speeding fines, but you will also use a lot more fuel to cover the distance. Simply, the harder an engine works the more fuel it needs. Stay legal – and save at the pumps!
5. CHECK TYRE PRESSURES
The lower a vehicle’s tyre pressure, the more fuel it needs to move down the road. Under-inflated tyres – or tyres that are over-pumped – can also pose a danger to vehicle occupants in terms of the way they respond to driver inputs.
We recommend that you check your vehicle’s tyre pressures every second week. If you’re not sure to which pressures they should be pumped, refer to the owner’s manual – or look for a sticker on the pillar at the driver’s door or inside the fuel filler flap – which will give you the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
6. AVOID RUSH HOUR
If possible, commute during off-peak periods – traffic jams and stop-start motoring add considerably to a vehicle’s fuel bill. Every time you accelerate from standstill, your car needs first gear and a large amount of fuel to get moving. Second gear is not much better.
The best solution is to journey when roads are quiet. You can also save fuel by anticipating what traffic ahead is likely to do, trying to travel steadily at a slow speed rather than accelerating quickly and braking hard. If you have to travel in rush hour a lot, then you could consider buying a hybrid, which uses much less fuel in town than a conventional petrol- or diesel-fuelled vehicle.
7. CLOSE THE VEHICLE’S WINDOWS
Open windows or an open sunroof exacerbate aerodynamic drag. At speeds of 60km/h or less the effect on fuel consumption is not that bad – but at high speeds it can be significant. Anything that makes wind noise as your car goes along is actually making the vehicle more expensive to run.
You can’t do much about the design of your car, but you can avoid making it worse by closing the windows and sunroof – use the vents to allow outside air into the car.
8. REMOVE ROOF RACKS OR ROOF-MOUNTED TENTS
Just as open windows create drag, so too do roof racks. Stow them when they’re not needed – you’ll cut down on fuel costs and, in the case of roof-mounted tents, a lot of weight, too! You’ll be surprised how much fuel an SUV can save when it isn’t disadvantaged by a heavy tent or roof rack!
9. REMOVE CLUTTER
The heavier a car, the more fuel it needs to get moving. So, don’t allow clutter to build up in the interior or boot of your car. The extra kilograms will cost you at the pumps.
Ironically, the heavier the items – usual culprits are golf clubs – the less likely you are to take them out of the boot and the greater the effect they will have on your vehicle’s fuel bill.
10. HAVE YOUR CAR SERVICED REGULARLY
A well-maintained vehicle with an engine that is serviced at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals is likely to use less fuel than a neglected counterpart. Choose quality fuels and oils to promote engine health, which in turn will help to lower fuel consumption.