How to save money while you drive
Fuel is money. So it follows that if you want to save money, and minimise the CO2 you’re pumping into the atmosphere, you’ll want to burn the absolute minimum amount of petrol possible. But how do you do it? Here are some tips to help you squeeze the maximum out of your fuel tank, whatever car you drive.
Keep your machine tip-top
An engine can only return optimum fuel efficiency when it’s running like a top, so your car needs to be serviced by the book. Keeping your tyres correctly inflated is also important – some of a car’s power is used just to overcome rolling resistance, and this increases with lower pressures. In fact, you could consider switching to a low-resistance, eco-biased tyre at your next tyre change. Other big contributors to fuel use are weight and aerodynamics, so don’t drive around with heavy items in the boot or a storage box on the roof if they’re not being used.
Two identical cars driving the same route will return significantly different fuel-economy results if one driver slams the throttle, fails to read the traffic flow and brakes unnecessarily while the other accelerates gently, coasts when they can and uses their anticipation to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration. Suffice to say, the former method isn’t the efficient way. Nor is driving when you’re angry or late – we tend to find it hard to display a light, easy touch when we’re all riled up.
As speeds rise, a car uses more and more of its power just to overcome the ever-growing impost of aerodynamic resistance. Your car will use less fuel cruising at 90-95km/h than at 100km/h, so if it’s safe to do so (that is, the conditions are appropriate and you’re not holding up the traffic flow), don’t be afraid to knock off a few kays.
Cars use less fuel on a free-flowing road than in stop-start traffic, so using a longer highway route to the same destination instead of a more congested one can often be more economical. If you’re really keen, a little experimentation and planning of your daily commute could deliver long-term financial gains. Should you be especially lucky, your car’s sat-nav system might have a function that can pick the most economical route for you.
Consider a switch
Do you even need to drive a traditional fuel-burning vehicle anymore? Many of today’s plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars offer a useful all-electric driving range, typically enough to cover the average Australian daily commute, and electricity delivers better cost-per-kilometre and CO2-emissions return than either petrol or diesel. Hydrogen-powered cars are coming onto the horizon, too, with Hyundai set to embark on local trials of the fuel soon.
So as fuel prices rise and rise, it makes sense both environmentally and financially to slip behind the wheel and zip down the road as economically as possible.
How to save up to 30% on every service
Smartleasing’s Vehicle Maintenance Program (VMP) takes the hassle - and a significant chunk of the cost - out of regular car maintenance. In fact, with VMP, you’ll save up to 30% on every service for the life of your lease.
- We budget for your scheduled maintenance, so there’s no more out of pocket expenses
- We approve all work before it’s carried out so you’ll never pay for work your car doesn’t need
- Like your other running costs, servicing is paid with pre-tax dollars, saving you even more