Improving how you drive and care for your car can help you save on fuel and running costs, and be great for the planet.
A few simple things can make all the difference:
Know how much fuel you use
If you want to improve your fuel economy you need to know how much fuel you’re using right now.
Follow these steps next time you fill-up to check your usage:
- Make a note of where your fuel gauge needle is – check if it’s empty or a quarter full
- Fill up your car and keep your fuel docket - it shows how many litres you bought
- Reset the trip meter before you drive off
- Drive around as normal and when the fuel gauge reaches the same point as in Step 1, write down the distance you have travelled from the trip meter
- To find your fuel economy in litres per 100 km, divide the number of litres of fuel used by the distance travelled, then multiply this figure by 100
Best result - the smaller the number, the better your fuel economy.
Find and compare the expected fuel consumption of vehicles by using our Vehicle Fuel Economy tool.
Changing your driving habits can help improve fuel consumption and general wear and tear on your car.
Try some of these tips to help make a difference:
- Drive smoothly - maintain a steady speed, use the highest gear possible without straining the engine. Speed up, slow down and brake gently and smoothly (provided it is safe to do so)
- Adjust your speed early – check ahead, slow down early and maintain a safe following distance
- Shift to higher gears early - change gear at around 2,000 to 2,500 rpm. If you drive an automatic, allow the transmission to change up early by accelerating gently on a light throttle
- Corner smoothly - don't brake hard for corners and accelerate out of them. Instead, slow gently, negotiate and exit corners on a light throttle
- Make hills work for you - build up speed before an uphill stretch and go up hills in the highest possible gear with almost full pressure on the accelerator. Lift the throttle as you crest the hill and use the vehicle’s momentum to get you over the top
- Lower your speed - travel at 90 km/h instead of 100 km/h and you can cut around 10% off your fuel bill
- Reduce your idling time - switch off your vehicle if you're going to be stationary for more than 30 seconds, avoid parking for long periods with your engine idling and steer clear of driving in peak traffic when you can
- Keep your load down and your vehicle streamlined - take unnecessary items out of the car, remove roof racks/boxes and cycle racks if you’re not using them
- Minimise airconditioning and open windows - air conditioning and open window drag can add up to 10% to your fuel bill so use air conditioning when you’re on the highway, and open windows when driving at lower speeds
- Plan your journey - a well-planned journey will get you to your destination in the quickest and easiest way - which means less fuel and time wasted
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Keeping your car well maintained could result in lower fuel bills.
- Get your vehicle serviced regularly – get oil and air filters changed as required, use the right tyres for the conditions, and have your wheels properly aligned
- Check your tyre pressure monthly - low tyre pressure can make vehicles work harder to overcome road resistence and impact on vehicle handling and breaking. It can also speed up the wear and tear on your tyres
Compare the fuel economy of your car against others, or use the tool for guidance if you are shopping for a new car.
- Compare safety ratings on the Rightcar website [Rightcar website]