One of the biggest running or recurring expense when it comes owning your car is on fuel. This is simply because you need it each time you start your car and drive off. How to save fuel in your car should be a skill you need to learn.
It therefore becomes very necessary for you know how to save fuel in your car. This is a skill that you will need to ensure you get the most from the fuel you put into your car.
Fuel prices are one of the major expense for you as a motorist.
In this article, I share with you tips and strategies on how to save fuel in your car, improve your efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.
19 Tips and Strategies on How to Save Fuel in Your Car Today
Here are some of the tips and strategies you can use to save fuel in your car today;
- Ensure you are carrying no excess weight.
- Reduce dragging.
- Have the correct tyre pressure.
- Ensure your car has as much fuel as you need.
- Plan your trip ahead.
- Use the recommended fuel type.
- If given vouchers or discounts, take advantage of them.
- Be gentle on acceleration.
- Do not leave your car idling for long.
- Use engine stop or start modes.
- Avoid lifting and coasting.
- Stick to your car’s recommended engine oil.
- Track your fuel expenses.
- Maintain steady speed when driving.
- Avoid high speeds.
- Anticipate traffic on the route you take.
- Be wary of car air conditioning
- Drive less.
- Treat your car with some TLC
With the government unlikely to reduce fuel duty any time soon, it’s worth thinking about how you can use less fuel.
Confused about where to start?
Here are some of the most common ways in which you can reduce your fuel costs, improve your fuel efficiency and reduce consumption. These tips and strategies will guide you on how to save fuel on your car.
Fuel Saving Tips to Improve Your Car’s Fuel Economy
As mentioned above, fuel prices remain one of the key expenses you have as a motorist or car owner. It is important for you to ensure you make the most out of every litre of petrol or diesel.
You might ask yourself, why is fuel so expensive?
While I might not go deep into the factors that drive the prices of fuel today, it is good to mention that oil and gas prices are driven by the forces of demand and supply.
The price of crude oil directly impacts the price you pay at the pump or petrol station. Taxes and other levies add to the final fuel price, driving the cost of fuel that you put into your car.
Exchange rates will also have an effect on the fuel prices too.
Ensure you are not carrying excess weight.
You can reduce fuel consumption by removing excess weight from your car. This is one way on how to save fuel in your car.
You can do this by removing your roof rack when you are not using it and disposing of any rubbish
Footballs, deckchairs, toys and so on might be handy from time to time, but they cost you money to transport.
The trick to reducing what you spend on petrol and diesel is to make a series of small changes, starting with a boot clear-out.
It is the middle of summer and the inside of your car is like a sauna. But do you roll the windows down or switch the air conditioning on?
Either method of achieving an ambient temperature can be wrong, depending on your speed.
Air conditioning uses fuel, and having the windows down causes drag, which uses up fuel too.
Well, here’s what to do. At low speeds, open the window – the fuel used to compensate for drag is less than the fuel used to power your air con.
While driving on the motorway, however, it’s the other way around. So turn on the climate control – the fuel used to compensate for drag is greater than the fuel required to have the air conditioning on.
Have the correct tyre pressure
If you cannot tell from how your car handles that your tyres are not the right pressure, then your fuel economy should tip you off.
The surface area that is in contact with the road increases when a tyre is under-inflated.
The more surface area in contact with the road, the more drag on the wheel.
Research has found that a tyre just 10 PSI under the recommended level can increase fuel consumption by 2.5%.
Ensure the car has as much fuel as you need
As annoying as it is to regularly top up your fuel, it does help you get more miles for your money.
Only topping up with what you need and avoiding having a full tank means the fuel you do have goes slightly further.
To make it easier to judge the correct amount of fuel, keep a notebook in the glove box.
When you fill up, write down how much fuel you put in to get from A to B. Note this in litres, not in amount of dollars, as the price is always changing.
Some fuel tanks can take up to 109 litres, so that is a significant amount of extra weight to carry around. You would not leave 109 litres worth of bottled water in your boot, would you?
Plan your trip ahead
Before setting off on a journey, try and plan when you will need to refuel and where you will go to do so.
This should help you to avoid letting your fuel run low as it may result in you panic-buying at the nearest, most expensive station.
To find the cheapest fuel near you, use our handy petrol price comparison tool.
Use the recommended fuel type for your car
When it comes to getting the best performance from your car, there is a notion that super fuel, or high performance fuel, is best.
Super fuel, also known as premium fuel or high performance fuel, is petrol with a higher octane rating.
Most standard brands of fuel have a 95 octane rating. Whereas super fuel typically has a rating of around 98. This can make the engine work more efficiently and improve performance.
While super fuel may work best for some cars, manufacturers test their vehicles for the most ideal fuel type.
So, if your car manual says you should use ‘normal’ unleaded fuel, or another fuel with a not-so-high octane rating, then you should trust it.
If given vouchers or discounts, take advantage of them
Supermarkets often compete to try and encourage you to use their station.
Keep an eye out for vouchers that give you money off your fuel spending and use them when you fill up.
Meanwhile, some credit cards offer cashback on fuel spending.
So shop around for the best deals.
Be gentle on the accelerator
Your driving style can have a big impact on how much petrol or diesel you use.
To improve your fuel economy, try to keep your driving smooth. Gentle acceleration and using the highest safe gear will use less fuel.
What’s more, when you approach traffic lights, ease off the accelerator early if the lights are red. Why hurry up to wait?
This style of driving, where harsh or rapid accelerating is minimised and gears are used efficiently, is often known as ‘eco-safe driving.’
It will not only help you use less fuel, which is better for you and the environment, but it tends to be safer too – hence the name.
Do not leave your car idling for long
Running your engine at idle consumes roughly half a gallon to about a gallon of fuel every hour, not to mention the carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere.
This means you are burning about 1.067 to 2.13 ounces of fuel every minute you are idle.
With modern cars being more efficient nowadays, you are likely to burn less fuel by simply turning off your engine, then restarting it when you have to move again.
Use engine stop/start modes
A handy alternative on some modern cars to switching your engine off is to use the car’s engine stop/start system.
If you keep your foot on the clutch when you stop at traffic lights, for example, the engine will continue to burn fuel.
However, take it off (with the car in neutral) and the car’s stop-start system will kick-in, saving you fuel and money.
Avoid lifting and coasting
Many people used to try to save fuel by coasting – that is rolling downhill out of gear. Actually, you might try to learn how to save fuel in your car through such ideas.
While it’s true that it won’t cost you extra, nowadays it won’t save you fuel either.
That is because when you take your foot off the accelerator in a modern car the fuel supply to the injectors is cut, so there’s nothing to be gained.
Therefore, you’re much better off altering your driving style, as outlined above, than trying to improve fuel efficiency by coasting.
Coasting is also generally advised against for safety reasons as it leads to less control over your car, which is another reason not to do it.
Stick to your car’s recommended engine oil
In addition to testing the best-performing fuel type, manufacturers test the effectiveness of a range of products too on their cars and this includes engine oil.
This means they are able to provide a list of recommendations.
So it pays to check your manual, and trust the manufacturers know what they are talking about here too.
Track your fuel expenses
Knowing how much your car is costing you to run is the first step to shaving a few pounds off your bill.
You can use a budgeting tool, or a fuel cost calculator tools to keep track of how much you are spending on petrol or diesel each week, month and year.
Maintain a steady speed when driving
When your speed dips and bursts, you use more fuel, and spend more money, than you need to. Tests have shown that varying your speed up and down between 75 and 85 km per hour every 18 seconds can increase your fuel use by 20%.
Consider using cruise control for highway driving, where conditions permit. Be mindful, however, that little variations in speed can actually be good when gravity does the work. Where traffic patterns permit, allow your speed to drop when you travel uphill, then regain your momentum as you roll downhill.
Avoid high speeds
Keep to the speed limit and save on fuel! Most cars, vans, pickup trucks and SUVs are most fuel-efficient when they’re travelling between 50 and 80 km per hour. Above this speed zone, vehicles use increasingly more fuel the faster they go.
For example, at 120 km per hour, a vehicle uses about 20% more fuel than at 100 km per hour. On a 25-km trip, this spike in speed – and fuel consumption – would cut just two minutes from your travel time.
Anticipate traffic on the route you take
Look ahead while you’re driving to see what is coming up. And keep a comfortable distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. By looking closely at what pedestrians and other cars are doing, and imagining what they’ll do next, you can keep your speed as steady as possible and use less fuel. It’s also safer to drive this way.
Be wary of air conditioning
Air conditioning can increase a vehicle’s fuel consumption by as much as 20%. Open the windows when you’re driving in the city, and use the flow-through ventilation system with the windows up on the highway. If you do use air conditioning, use the re-circulate option. It will minimize the impact.
The best way reduce fuel consumption is to drive less.
Walk or bike to your destination. You’ll use no fuel and have a healthier lifestyle
Use public transit
Join a car or van pool. You and your group will save fuel and avoid emitting tonnes of air pollutants a year
Work from home when you can. Every day you telecommute reduces the amount of fuel you use by 20%
19. Treat Your Car to some TLC
A well-tuned engine can improve fuel economy, so follow your car manufacturer’s recommendation on servicing. High quality motor oils such as Shell Helix Ultra E can also help your engine operate more efficiently.
How to Save Fuel in Your Car When Driving
Buying the cheapest petrol and diesel is the easiest way to cut your fuel costs, but there are other things you can do to get the most mileage out of your tank.
Wind resistance increases fuel consumption.
Try to keep windows closed at high speeds and remove roof racks and boxes when not in use.
Removing a roof-top cargo box can save as much as 20% on fuel over a year.
According to the AA, dropping from 80mph to 70mph could save you up to 25% in fuel.
If you’re on smaller roads, slowing down from 70mph to 60mph could save another 10% .
Get your car serviced regularly to maintain engine efficiency and make sure you’re using the correct engine oil.
Read the road ahead, anticipating the actions of other drivers and potential hazards.
The less braking and acceleration, the less fuel used.
For instance, drive smoothly in heavy traffic and avoid driving fast to catch up to the car in front, then having to brake.
Drop the revs
Some motorists let the revs (revolutions per minute or RPM) run to 3,000 per minute (petrol car) and 2,500 (diesel) before changing up a gear.
It’s more efficient to move up a gear at 2,500 (petrol) and 2,000 (diesel).
Use high gears, such as fifth and sixth gears, sooner than later.
Look after tyres
Well maintained tyres are essential for safe and economical driving.
Check tyre pressures regularly (especially before a motorway journey).
The RAC claims correctly inflated tyres can improve fuel consumption by up to 2%.
A lighter car will use less fuel, so don’t drive around with unnecessary items in your boot and unless you’re on a long journey, consider running your fuel tank half full or less.
Braking hard, accelerating, then braking for the next speed bump is inefficient and uses extra fuel.
Try to drive along at a steady 15-20mph instead.
Air con or open windows?
Air-conditioning increases fuel consumption, especially at low speeds.
If it’s a hot day, use the air conditioning for high speed driving, but open the windows around town.
Ditch the car
It sounds obvious, but the simplest way to save on your fuel costs is to cut your car use – try walking, cycling or public transport for shorter journeys, or car sharing for your commute.
Drive a manual
According to the AA, automatics use 10% to 15% more fuel than manuals.
However, the gap is closing as modern, efficient semi-automatics become more popular.
There’s also little difference between automatics and manuals on motorways.
Work out how much fuel you use every week. Now try slowing down for a week and see what difference it makes.
Find out the facts when thinking about whether you need a car, and make sure you know how much different types of cars cost to run.
Driving Tips to Use Less Fuel and Save You Money
Fuel-efficient driving can save you hundreds of dollars in fuel each year, improve road safety and prevent wear on your vehicle. Adopt these 5 fuel-efficient driving techniques to lower your vehicle’s fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 25%.
Here are more easy ways you can reduce your fuel consumption and costs:
The harder you accelerate the more fuel you use. In the city, you can use less fuel by easing onto the accelerator pedal gently. To be as fuel-efficient as possible, take 5 seconds to accelerate your vehicle up to 20 kilometres per hour from a stop. Imagine an open cup of coffee on the dashboard. Don’t spill it!
Coast to decelerate
Every time you use your brakes, you waste your forward momentum. By looking ahead at how traffic is behaving, you can often see well in advance when it’s time to slow down. You will conserve fuel and save money by taking your foot off the accelerator and coasting to slow down instead of using your brakes.
Avoid idling your vehicle
Turn off your engine when you’re stopped for more than 60 seconds, except when in traffic. The average vehicle with a 3-litre engine wastes 300 millilitres (over 1 cup) of fuel for every 10 minutes it idles.
Measure your tire pressure every month
Driving a vehicle with tires under-inflated by 56 kilopascals (8 pounds per square inch) can increase fuel consumption by up to 4%. It can also reduce the life of your tires by more than 10,000 kilometres. Find the right tire pressure for your vehicle on the tire information placard. It’s usually on the edge of the driver’s door or doorpost.
Don’t carry unnecessary weight
Remove items such as salt, sand and sports equipment from your vehicle. The less it weighs, the less fuel your vehicle will use. The fuel consumption of a mid-size car increases by about 1% for every 25 kilograms of weight it carries.
Remove roof or bicycle racks
Streamline your vehicle by taking off the racks when you’re not using them. Aerodynamic drag can increase fuel consumption by as much as 20% on the highway.
Use a fuel consumption display
See the impact of the 5 fuel-efficient driving techniques firsthand with the help of a fuel consumption display, a feature now standard on many vehicles. (Some newer vehicles come equipped with even more sophisticated displays that analyze speed variations, shift points for manual transmissions, and driving behaviours such as acceleration and braking times.)
Many drivers consume 15% less fuel by acting on the feedback that fuel consumption displays provide.
Track your fuel consumption
How long can you go without filling your tank? Two weeks? A month?
Challenge yourself to refill as seldom as possible and your monthly costs will come down.
You may be surprised, but every extra pound or kilogram matters and affects your fuel efficiency. So keep your boot and back seat clear of unnecessary items that just add weight to your vehicle (e.g. golf clubs).
Are you turned on or off?
Idling gets you nowhere but still burns fuel. Turn the engine off when you’re in a queue, or waiting for someone, until you need it. As a rule if you stop over 10 seconds, switch off your engine.
Easy Does It
The higher gear you drive in, the lower your engine speed is, which can improve fuel efficiency. So change up a gear whenever you can, without labouring the engine. Change gear in good time when you pull away or when you’re accelerating. Never ‘redline’ the rev counter.
Designers and aerodynamicists spend ages trying to make a car’s body cut smoothly through the air. Opening your windows or sunroof, or piling bikes and boxes onto the roof, can heavily impact your fuel economy. Driving faster will also increase the wind resistance you encounter, causing your vehicle to use more fuel.
No Drain, No Pain
As a rule, anything that puts a drain on the battery will put a drain on your fuel economy – like air conditioning. But worse still is a battery in poor condition, causing the alternator to constantly try and charge the battery.
Timing is Everything
Driving in heavy stop-start traffic is going to negatively affect fuel economy. So if you’re a commuter, avoid the rush hours if you can. You’ll really notice the improvement in fuel consumption. However, this is easier said than done!
Open Your Eyes
Think ahead when you’re driving. For example, slow down early to let traffic lights change, rather than stopping completely, or speed up a little before you reach the foot of a hill. Leave a sensible distance between yourself and the car ahead to give you ample time to brake evenly.
The Fuel Rule
Not all fuels are the same. Your fuel economy can be improved through using the right fuel, so shop around and ensure that you choose one of high quality.
Get Pumped Up
Correctly inflated tyres are safer and last longer. A tyre that is under inflated can reduce fuel economy. An under or over inflated tyre is also more susceptible to failing.
In conclusion, learning skills on how to save fuel in your car will go along way in ensuring that you are not only saving money, but also being fuel efficient in your car.
You can use any or a mix of the above tips or hacks to reduce your car’s fuel consumption.