Is it really possible to pocket a few hundreds of your gas money instead of burning them out of your tailpipe?
According to the latest Survey of Motor Vehicle Use, the passenger vehicles in the country travelled a total of almost 163 billion kilometres from June 2019 to June 2020. Wow, that's easily 200,000 trips to the moon and back!
That’s mind-blowing, no doubt, but here’s something more relatable to us Earthlings.
The same survey shows that the average Aussie passenger vehicle consumed 11.1L per 100km or 3.4L of fuel every day for that period. These figures easily translate to fuel spending of $1,500-$2,000 per year per vehicle, which means that there’s ample room to realise some savings from your annual gas budget.
Of course, it will require some changes in your driving habits and car managing practices – some small, some big, but all are definitely doable.
And here’s more. It’s not only at the bowser where you get to save fuel money, but you’ll also have opportunities to practice fuel economy on the road, in the garage, and the other activities or decisions involving your car.
If that sounds like something interesting to you, let’s see how my favourite gas-saving hacks will help you stash away some cash.
Clever Ways to Save on Fuel at the Servo
1. Compare fuel prices near you.
Of course, you should choose the refilling station with the lowest price; that's commonsense. But before you drive around town to start comparing servos, hit the info highway first. Some apps will enable you to make comparisons with a few clicks on your phone and not a drop of petrol wasted. Choose not only the cheapest gas but the cheapest AND nearest to you! No point guzzling fuel for a few cents in your pocket.
2. Don’t wait till your tank is empty before you refuel.
You won’t be able to score the best price if you’re in a rush, so it’s best to make time to gas up long before the gas gauge says your car is about to dry up.
3. Find out about reward programs.
Gas stations, especially large ones, usually have reward programs to keep their customers loyal to them. Some of the perks include discounts, points that you can accumulate and use to purchase fuel in the future, and other incentives.
4. Don’t use premium petrol if your car doesn’t need it.
Always use the type of fuel that the maker of your car recommends. For this, you should refer to your owner’s manual. Don't pay for 'plus' or premium that your vehicle doesn't need. It’s foolish and a waste of money to use premium fuel when your car only needs regular octane.
5. Choose the best day to fill up your tank.
Refer to the ACCC website to monitor the petrol price cycle and predict the best days to head for refilling at the servo. The historical information you get from this site can help you make educated ‘guesses’ on the possible days when petrol would be cheapest or costliest. The price cycles are shown per capital city, so make sure you click on your state capital city.
Driving Habits that Enhance Fuel Economy
1. Drive smartly and economically.
A few simple driving habits can go a long way in terms of mileage. According to the US FuelEconomy.gov, excessive idling, rapid acceleration, squealing brakes, and high speeds reduce fuel efficiency by up to 30% on highways and 40% within city limits.
Frequent short trips in cold weather can also put a hole in your pocket since your engine will require a longer time to warm up and more fuel each time. The engine will also run at optimal temperature for only a short time, which is not so smart. Multiply with the frequency of your trips in a day, and you’ll realise that you’re throwing gas money like you hated it! The next time you pick up the key, think about being more systematic in your errands and drive fewer times for longer.
2. Use GPS.
A GPS will be handy in locating addresses for the first time, finding the shortest route to a destination, and predicting traffic conditions in specific locations. This way you get to avoid gas-gulping bottlenecks.
3. Tackle the road on foot.
Don’t be overly dependent on your car. If it’s just around a few blocks, you can walk or bike to your destination and thank yourself afterwards for the exercise.
4. Consider car-pooling and ride-sharing opportunities.
Taking the passenger seat a few times a week will not only add to your savings account; it will also be an opportunity to sit back and relax, watch the city and sceneries from the car’s side windows, and take your eyes off the road for a change.
5. Make sure your car has what it takes.
In the first place, choose to drive a fuel-efficient car – that way, you win half the battle, no sweat! Also, you should never skip servicing schedules and make sure you address even minor car issues as soon as you notice them.
Keep an eye on the liquid levels of the different types of fluids that your car uses. It would be best if you learned the habit of checking on your tyres often, making sure they have the correct air pressure at all times. Aside from resulting in a more fuel-efficient car, these good practices will also stretch the life of your tyres and keep your trips safe.
To read more about practical tips for car owners, please don't hesitate to visit our blog. You should also not miss the free tools you can use while on our website, for instance, the Car Part Finder and Directories. Check them out now and find the cheapest auto parts nearest you!
By Jeannette Salanga (JMSL)