By Shell on Feb. 29, 2020
Some cost-saving measures require shopping around, such as finding cheaper insurance premiums or filling up on days when fuel is less expensive. But short of car sharing, walking, cycling or taking a bus occasionally, you can do many things to chop your motoring costs.
1. Keep it smooth
You can easily shave a few dollars from your fuel bill by cutting a few kilometres per hour from your cruising speeds. Other proven methods to keep costs down include braking as little (and as lightly) as possible, anticipating and reacting calmly in heavy traffic and lifting your foot from the accelerator before approaching red lights or stop signs. You should also turn off your engine if you’re likely to be immobile for longer than 30 seconds.
2. Keep regular maintenance schedules
Keeping your car in good mechanical condition and using authorised spare parts installed by a trusted mechanic helps it run efficiently. (Better still, do some of the easier work yourself.) Between services, keep your tyres inflated to the upper limit of the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. Less tyre drag means less rolling resistance and less fuel used.
3. Keep down the weight
Every unnecessary kilo adds dollars at the fuel pump. Hardened scrimpers recommend refueling to half or three-quarters full – a full fuel tank adds extra weight that costs more to haul around. Otherwise, remove the beach cricket set, barbells or golf clubs from the boot before your car reverts to being a work-day commuter. Similarly, don’t forget to take off the roof or bike racks after the family holiday. Every bit of aerodynamic drag hurts at fill-up time.
4. Keep cool when it’s hot
There is no easy answer to whether it’s more cost-effective using air-conditioning or winding down your windows (and increasing drag). Motoring association NRMA suggests it’s likely to be more economical keeping your windows down when travelling under 60 km/h and using your air-con at higher speeds (certainly at 100 km/h or more). If you must use the AC, set it to “recirculating” mode so you’re cooling the colder air already inside your vehicle, not the warmer air outside. On hotter days, park in a shady spot or use a reflective window shade. This will make it faster and cheaper to keep everything (and everyone) cool.