Running a car can be a huge cost, to the wallet and the environment. With the price of petrol and diesel increasing rather than decreasing or staying the same, we put together our top tips for fuel economy.
1. Use the right type of fuel
Find out if you are using the right fuel for your car. In New Zealand, 91 Octane is the most common grade. But not all cars are designed to run on this. Some require a grade of fuel such as 95 Octane. Find out how the Octane grades work and how it affects you here.
2. Check your tyre pressure
Lower tyre means there is more drag on the road and more fuel is needed to move your car. Check your tyre pressure regularly to keep it at the optimal level. Most service stations have an air pump to allow you to check your air pressure and add air.
3. Lighten your load
More weight means more fuel is needed to move the car. Do an audit of your boot and see what you actually need to keep in the car. Sports equipment and heavy tools can usually be left at home if you are just doing day to day things.
4. Avoid driving aggressively
The way you drive does impact fuel usage. Maintaining a steady speed and making turns smoothly increases fuel efficiency. Using gears wisely, ie using higher gears at low speed and lower gears at high speed is another smart way to save petrol. Poor driving style can cost you up to 20% more in fuel.
5. Get your car serviced
Regular health check-ups can keep your car running at peak conditions and hence save you on fuel. Regular oil changes, engine checks, inspections, tyre rotations etc will keep things running smoothly.
6. Plan ahead
Write a shopping list so you make fewer trips to the supermarket during the week. Check Google Maps for the most efficient route so you drive a shorter distance or spend less time in traffic. Plan a route when running multiple errands. Planning ahead not only saves petrol but also saves valuable time.
7. Burn calories, not petrol
Walk to the dairy or cycle to work. Nearly two thirds of urban trips in New Zealand are shorter than 6 km. Distances that can easily be walked or cycled. Cutting down on unnecessary trips will not only save petrol but also reduce mechanical wear.
Getting it right from the start is a surefire way to save on petrol. When buying a new car, looking at Vehicle Fuel Economy labels can help save hundreds of dollars down the line. Buyers can easily compare fuel economy using the star rating and indicative cost per year.