Many people wish they could reduce their fuel bills and spend less at the petrol pump.
Here are a few steps you can take that will make visiting the petrol station a less draining experience on your wallet.
Work out what you use
It would be a challenging exercise to work out how much you’d saved if you didn’t know what the original figure was. Calculating the approximate amount of petrol or diesel you use in an average week will give you the tools to lower your bill.
Drive more economically
According to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), improving your driving techniques could create up to a 20 per cent saving at the pump.
Try to be smooth and gentle “like a swan” with your movements, including when you brake. Try to slow down naturally rather than relying entirely on your car’s brakes.
Rather than trying to accelerate rapidly, try to maintain a steady speed, and keep your revs under 3,000 if possible.
If you have a manual transmission, be aware that using the highest gear possible will use less fuel as it reduces pressure on the engine.
In an automatic, you can ease back on the accelerator once you are travelling at a high enough speed. This will encourage the automatic gearbox to shift up through the gears more quickly, increasing efficiency.
Keep your vehicle maintained
Regular servicing will make your car run more efficiently and improve reliability and longevity.
Make sure your engine is correctly tuned, your air filters are in good condition and your fuel and ignition systems are operating effectively.
It is worth checking your engine’s oil and change it when required. When you change the oil, ensure you are using the right kind. Check with the manufacturer if you are unsure.
This also means you could be safer on the roads and may not need to rely on roadside assistance so often. Although, it is a handy option to have at your fingertips.
Check your tyre pressure
Regularly checking your tyre pressure is another way to ensure you are not spending more than you have to and ensure your car is as safe on the roads as possible.
Under-inflated tyres create a greater rolling resistance, meaning your car has to work harder, which in turn uses more fuel.
When your car tyre pressure is correct, you will experience more secure handling, and the tyres will have a longer lifespan.
Check inside your owner’s handbook to see what pressure they should be.
Another thing to check is your wheel alignment, because this can create rolling resistance if not correctly set.
Remove unnecessary weight
Additional weight rolling around in your car can also mean you spend more at the petrol pump. See if there are any items you can take out to increase your fuel efficiency. After all, what’s the chances of you needing that set of golf clubs or tool boxes you keep in the boot?
Other items you could consider removing to lower your fuel use is your roof racks, as these items create drag and wind resistance, which will in turn reduce your fuel efficiency.
Making your car more fuel efficient also has some trickle-down effects and can make your vehicle safer on the roads.
This could help you when it comes to your car insurance, as you are therefore less likely to have an accident caused by a safety issue.
It is still a good idea to have car insurance in New Zealand, as you never know what will crop up on the roads.