Improving how you drive and maintain your car can help you save on fuel and running costs. A few simple things can make all the difference.
If you want to improve your fuel economy, start by finding out how much fuel you’re currently using. Your car may have an electronic fuel consumption meter which can display either average or real-time fuel consumption in litres/100 km. If it doesn’t, you can easily calculate the average yourself.
- When your car’s tank is nearly empty, fill it up and reset the trip meter before you drive off.
- Drive around as normal - when the car is nearly empty again, fill it up and keep your fuel docket – it shows how many litres you bought.
- When you get back into the car, note the km’s recorded on your trip meter (which is the distance travelled on that tank of fuel).
- Work out your fuel economy in litres per 100 km - divide the number of litres of fuel required to refill the car by the distance travelled, then multiply by 100. For example, your car took 50 litres to fill and you travelled 625 kms: 50/625 x 100 = 8 litres per 100 km.
The smaller the number of litres used, the better your fuel economy. Find and compare the expected fuel consumption of vehicles by using our vehicle fuel economy tool.
Good driving habits
Changing your driving habits can help reduce the amount of fuel you use as well as general wear and tear on your car – and can help you be safer on the road.
- Drive smoothly - stay at a steady speed, use the highest gear possible without straining the engine. Speed up, slow down and brake gently and smoothly.
- Adjust your speed early - check ahead, slow down early and keep a safe distance from the car in front.
- 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.
- Turn corners smoothly - don't brake hard for corners or accelerate out of them. Slow down gently, negotiate and exit corners with light acceleration.
- Make hills work for you - build up speed before a hill and go up in the highest possible gear with almost full pressure on the accelerator. Lift the throttle as you crest the hill and use your vehicle’s momentum to get you over the top.
- Avoid speeding – travelling at 110 km/h instead of 100 km/h can cost you an extra 10% of fuel.
- Reduce your idling time - switch off your vehicle if you're going to be stationary for more than 30 seconds and avoid driving at peak traffic times when you can.
- Keep your load down and vehicle streamlined - take unnecessary items out of the car, remove roof racks/boxes and cycle racks if you’re not using them.
- Minimise air conditioning and open windows - which can add up to 10% to your fuel bill. Use air-conditioning only when you’re on the highway, and open windows when you’re driving at lower speeds.
- Plan your journey - you’ll get you to your destination in the quickest, safest and easiest way, which means you’ll waste less time and fuel.
Keeping your car well maintained can help lower fuel bills.
- Get your vehicle serviced regularly - get oil and air filters changed when they’re due and keep your engine tuned, use the right tyres for the conditions, and have your wheels properly aligned.
- Check your tyre pressure monthly - low tyre pressure can make your vehicle work harder to overcome road resistance, and impact on handling and braking. It can also speed up wear and tear on your tyres.
- Use fuel efficient tyres - if they’re available for your car.