Tips to cut your fuel bill

Last updated 16:58 16/07/2013

Relevant offers


Porirua lawyer Papali'i Lagolago appeals against negligence decision Sellers of Auckland houses now want $100k more than they did last year Falling oil prices should be good news for New Zealand consumers Chinese company buys Waitaki Valley 'castle' FMA in Court of Appeal with financial services company headed by Luigi Wewege Music video producer Joel Kefali sells Auckland house months after paying $1.6m New Zealand stock exchange joins worldwide market tumble What happens to your money if your bank fails? Flunked NCEA? Students told there are other paths to a dream career Lawyers circling Apple's 'error 53' iPhone killer

Nobody likes wasting money on petrol, and record fuel prices are making that harder to avoid.

Luckily, there are a few simple dos and don'ts can knock 20 per cent off your fuel bill, AA spokesman Andrew Bayliss says.

For someone driving a 1.8-litre car 14,000km a year, that saves more than $400 -- or nearly $10 a week.


* Drive smoothly - avoid sudden braking or accelerating too often and too fast. If you're coming to a stop, ease off the accelerator rather than braking suddenly.

* Keep a consistent speed - if you have cruise control, setting it to one speed could save up to five per cent of fuel.

* Remove excess weight - got too much junk in the trunk? Extra weight will mean your engine is working harder.

* Service regularly - depending on your vehicle's age and the manufacturer's recommendations, you should service it every six months, or 10,000kms. For newer cars, it might be every 12 months or 20,000kms.

* Make your car more aerodynamic - if you don't need the bike or roof rack, take it off.

* Roll down windows - air conditioning will use gas, so driving with windows down is more fuel efficient, except at high speeds, when air resistance outweighs the benefits.

* Use the right gas -- pay attention to the manufacturer's recommendation for which gas type to use. Your car might run better on 91 instead of the more expensive 98.

* Watch your revs - if you drive a manual, try to be in the right gear. With most engines it's acceptable to shift up a gear at about 2000rpm, but get to know how your own car feels when it's running at the right rpm.

* Make sure tyres are correctly inflated -- tyre pressure information should be found inside the driver's door pillar (or sometimes the passenger side), or the owner's manual. Driving a car with under-inflated tyres increased fuel consumption by nearly eight per cent, the AA found.


* Tailgate - yes, we all hate being stuck behind someone doing 80kmh when the limit is 100kmh, but sitting close behind them is dangerous and you have to brake more often.

* Avoid short trips - they aren't worth the fuel if you can easily get there some other way. 

* Turn your car off in traffic - many people say turn off your car instead of idling, but it isn't worth it if you idle only for a minute. The petrol used to start again will usually be more than what is used idling.

* Go out of your way to make left turns only - they say two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do. You shouldn't take it as driving advice, however. You save a marginal amount if you avoid waiting at right turns, and you may even waste fuel by detouring.

Ad Feedback

* Cruise down a hill or to a stop in neutral - we may sneakily clutch in or pop into neutral, but in most modern cars, this actually wastes gas. A lot of cars using fuel injectors cut off fuel once pressure is removed from the accelerator and momentum takes over. Putting it into neutral does not do this.

* Warm up your car - sitting idle for half a minute to let the engine warm up is not necessary with modern cars. Just take it easy for the first few kilometres.

* Drive a manual - manuals were once better on fuel as drivers were in control of the rpm, but newer automatic cars choose the optimum gear for fuel savings. 

- Fairfax Media

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content