Top fuel-saving tips from AA ..
Drive smoothly. Aggressive driving can use as much as a third more fuel than calm driving. Avoid accelerating or braking too hard and try to keep your steering as smooth as possible.
Tune and service your engine. A well-tuned engine can improve fuel economy by up to 4 percent. Follow your car manufacturer’s recommendation on tuning and servicing.
Keep your tyres at the right pressure. Correctly-inflated tyres are safer and last longer. A tyre that is under-inflated by just one psi can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 3 percent.
Avoid carrying excess weight. For every extra 45kg you carry your fuel efficiency can drop by 1 to 2 percent. So keep your boot or back seat clear of unnecessary items that add weight to your vehicle.
Cut the drag. Wind blowing through an open window will slow you down, causing you to put your foot down. Roof racks have the same effect.
Plan trips carefully. Cutting down on the time spent driving the car is the easiest way to conserve fuel. To reduce driving time, combine all your short trips and errands into a single journey. Avoid rush hour jams. (Editor’s note: You might ask yourself the question on a World War II poster in Great Britain: “Is your journey really necessary?”)
More tips from Shell .. (now Z Energy in NZ)
Use the correct oil. Using the manufacturer’s recommended oil can improve fuel efficiency by 1 to 2 percent. Higher quality motor oils can also help your engine operate more efficiently.
Use air conditioning sparingly. Air conditioning puts added strain on the engine and uses fuel to operate. Limit its use to particularly hot or cold days. On temperate days use only the fan instead.
Use cruise control. Using cruise control on major roads helps you maintain a constant speed and in many cases, will reduce fuel consumption.
Avoid excess idling. Idling gets you nowhere but still burns fuel. Turn the engine off when you’re in a queue or waiting for someone.
Keep calm. Fuel efficiency is all about smoothness and keeping calm is absolutely crucial to achieving fuel economy.
Slow down in a headwind. When you’re faced with a headwind the engine has to work much harder to cover the same distance because of the drag. Slow down to ensure that the engine doesn’t end up working too hard.
Better late than never ..
The Aussies have been providing fuel-saver information on vehicles for over 20 years. We’re finally getting into the act in New Zealand through the government’s new fuelsaver website www.fuelsaver.govt.nz.
It covers new cars introduced since 2005, as well as used imports manufactured after 2000 and imported since 2005. You can calculate annual, monthly, or weekly fuel costs for your type of motoring. There are fuel-saving tips as well.
But the site does not let you compare popular older used cars – a significant shortcoming. If you want to do this, check out the AA website – there are fuel-economy estimates for many of the more popular used cars. So if you’re choosing between an older Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic, the AA website has the fuel-economy numbers, along with safety information, towing capacities and more.
No doubt the number of models covered by fuelsaver will grow and we’re pleased that Land Transport is now giving us local information. Previously, we’ve had to use the Australian Greenhouse Office figures.
Thanks for the above report by Hamish Wilson.