10 Fuel Saving Tips to Keep the Road Costs Down

The classic New Zealand road trip is slowly becoming a thing of the past as the once affordable pastime is starting to take a fair chunk out of our wallets. Petrol prices are getting up right up there, with the national petrol price average reaching $2.30 per litre on Monday, 9 July 2018.

It’s starting to cost an arm and a leg to drive on down to your local dairy just to get yourself a cheeky meat pie. It hurts knowing that our hard earned cash is getting chewed up at the lights as we sit there waiting for them to change. Almost over shadows that feeling of despair you get when you drop pastry all down your lap because you couldn’t wait to tuck into the meaty goodness of the Jimmy’ pies you just bought. We don’t know what’s worse! Knowing your money is burning out of your exhaust or that you forgot to blow on the pie, and your mouth is tender and burnt. Oh, so much pain in one story. Anyway, we are getting a little bit carried away.

Today we are going to share our best tips for combatting these staggering fuel prices. While some being common knowledge, we hope there are a few gems in here that you can pull away from this. So buckle your seat belts and put on your driving glasses, as we share our tips on how you can keep your fuel costs down this winter.

 

Reduce the weight

The heavier the vehicle, the more fuel it consumes to move it, simple as that. If you have a much lighter vehicle then you will find you would get a lot more traveling done in between fuel stops. Now when we say reduce the weight, we don’t mean take off the doors or tell your passenger to go for a run. Just make sure you aren’t carrying any extras, such as golf clubs or tool boxes in the boot or back seat that could be weighing you down.

 

Remove roof racks

Depending on how old the vehicle is, the roof racks could be adding its fair share of weight to the ride, with older cars having heavier roof racks. However, the main reason why roof racks increase your fuel consumption is due to the drag they cause in the wind, making it harder to go the speed limit. Cars are more efficient on fuel when they are aerodynamic, so remove the racks if you can save yourself a few extra bucks while you drive.

 

Keep your window up

This applies for when you are out on the country roads or on the motorway etc. But having your window down creates drag for your vehicle, meaning you are less aerodynamic. Sure it’s fine when you are sitting in traffic, and you have your radio blasting Red Hot Chili Peppers (actually no, don’t be that guy). But when you are going over 50 kmph, the added drag that the window being down causes, is not doing wonders for your fuel tank.

 

Avoid rush hour traffic

Ok, well some of us don’t really have a choice in the matter, but if you can avoid peak traffic times, then you will save yourself a fortune in fuel costs. Sitting in traffic is not fun for you or your wallet. So either finding less congested routes or picking different times of the day to do things could save you a bit of coin.

 

Reduce idling time

According to the AA website your car burns more fuel while idling for more than 30 seconds than it does if you turn it off and on. This one surprised us as quite often we would sit in the car waiting for longer than 30 seconds when picking some up or pulling over to answer a call. So next time your ride comes to a halt, and you think you may be there for an extended period of time, just turn your vehicle off and stop your car from chewing up fuel.

 

Cruise Control

If your vehicle has cruise control, we recommend using it on the open road when you can. Cruise control helps you maintain a steady speed, meaning you are burning less fuel while driving. This works well on flat open roads, but not in busy intercity traffic or while going up and down hills. Cruise control helps maintain a constant speed so it will increase your engine revs and automatically drop down the gears in an attempt to keep the pace you initially had set it to.

 

Don’t put your foot flat

Here is another one that surprised a few of us, but when you are climbing hills, do not push the accelerator down to the floor. Even if the car is in a higher gear, is not using many revs and is slowing down, putting your foot flat burns more fuel. It’s more fuel efficient to try to keep your car at a constant RPM and your accelerator in the same place. Speed up before you get to a hill so that you have some momentum with you before gravity kicks in.

 

Check your tires

Tire pressure can affect your fuel consumption as a low pressure causes your vehicle to use up more fuel in order to move it. Think of it like riding a bike when your tire is flat. It’s a lot harder to move as you have to use more energy and effort to get it going the speed you would usually have it at. It takes only 10 minutes to check your pressure and pump up your tires, so we recommend it before you begin any long trips. Most vehicles have the recommended tire pressure on a sticker inside the driver’s door.

 

Take speed bumps easily

Most of us when we see speed bumps try to slow down at the very last minute and speed up as soon as we are over them. We try to get by speed bumps as quick as possible since we seem to be always in a rush. But by doing this, we are decreasing our fuel economy due to constantly slowing down and speeding up. The most fuel efficient way to go over speed bumps is to hit them slowly and at a constant speed. Try not be erratic on the accelerator and break, instead take them gradually and smoothly. Your fuel tank and your passengers will thank you for it.

 

Just chill out

This tip sort of ties in with all the previous tips as well, but chill out and drive smoothly while you are on the roads. Erratic driving is one of the primary influencers of higher fuel consumption. Constantly speeding up and slowing down, using an excessive amount of acceleration just to get to the speed limit quicker and then slowing down at the last minute, uses up a fair amount of your fuel. We are all guilty of it sometimes, as we are always in a rush. But speeding up between sets of lights doesn’t get you from A to B faster, just means you spend more time waiting at the next set of lights. Be more fuel efficient this winter and save yourself some trips to the petrol station. Take to the roads, the same way you should take to your pies, slowly and calmly to avoid the costly burn.

 

If you would like to read more NZCU South blogs, we recommend some of the following:

https://nzcusouth.co.nz/top-10-tips-when-you-are-purchasing-a-car/

https://nzcusouth.co.nz/12-tips-for-staying-warm-this-winter-without-blowing-the-budget/

https://nzcusouth.co.nz/care-for-your-car/