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Are your driving habits costing you money?

One of our readers Paul wrote to us: “This may seem silly, but I’m usually a lead-foot who likes to be the first away at the lights and ahead of the pack. Since I’ve cut back on accelerating so hard I seem to save quite a few litres in petrol. Two litres per week multiplied by 52 weeks at an average of $1.30 per litre = $135.20 annual savings.”

Paul’s findings are confirmed by the experts in Canberra. Subtly changing your driving habits will save you fuel and money.  The Department of the Environment’s top 10 tips include:

  • Minimise your vehicle use. Avoid multiple short trips in the car by combining errands, and walk or ride when you only need to go a short distance.
  • Drive in the correct gear. Driving in a gear that’s too high or too low can result in higher fuel consumption.
  • Drive smoothly. Smooth driving is more efficient than bursts of braking and acceleration.
  • Reduce idling time. Modern cars rarely need to be warmed up before driving. Turning off the engine when stationary for long periods will also save fuel.
  • Stick to the speed limit. On the highway, the average car travelling at 110 km per hour will use 25 percent more fuel than it would travelling at 90 km per hour.
  • Minimise aerodynamic drag. Roof racks, open windows and spoilers increase air resistance and decrease fuel economy.
  • Check your tyres. Inflate your tyres to the maximum pressure recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Use the air-conditioner in moderation. Car use about 10 percent more fuel when the air-conditioner is running. Consider rolling down the window instead. (Note: At 80 km an hour or faster, running the air-conditioner is more fuel efficient than driving with open windows).
  • Reduce your load. Leave heavy equipment and tools at home when you don’t need them.
  • Maintenance pays. Keep your car in good condition and follow the manufacturer’s fuel guidelines.
This article has been prepared for information purposes only, and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.