9 Ways to Save on Petrol Costs

Posted by: Dan on 5/02/2015

Category: Maintenance

9 Ways to Save on Petrol

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Nobody wants to lose money when they could be saving it for bigger and better things instead. So if it seems as though you’re spending too much time and too much money filling up at the gas pump, it’s time to take control of your fuel costs with the following nine tips:


Tip #1 - Drive Reasonably


One of the worst things you can do in terms of fuel efficiency is to accelerate rapidly. Often termed ‘angry driving,’ this style of driving isn’t just dangerous - it can also cost you big at the pump as well.


If you have a habit of accelerating rapidly from a traffic light, you’re ultimately going to use more petrol than if you accelerate slowly and then stop gradually at a red light. Using cruise control while you’re on the highway can also help you to cut down your fuel consumption, putting less wear-and-tear on your car as well. Certainly, there are times when you need to brake, but it’s important to realise that braking is wasteful when it comes to fuel consumption. It is far less efficient to accelerate until the last-minute and then slow down quickly.


Instead, try to anticipate when a light will change and begin easing off the accelerator in advance. The less you need to brake, the better your fuel economy will be. By far, this is the easiest way to save money and ensure that your vehicle lasts longer and gives you fewer problems.


Tip #2 - Time Your Fuel Up Trips


Ideally, it’s best to fill up your petrol tank either on a Wednesday or a Thursday and preferably before 10:00am, as fuel prices typically increase on Thursdays ahead of weekend travel. Further, most service station owners make their daily price changes around 10:00am. Unless you simply cannot get around it, try not to purchase petrol on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday to avoid these higher costs.


It’s also important to be aware that petrol prices typically increase before holidays in anticipation of additional drivers on the road. Watching your timing and being a little choosy about where you fill up your vehicle, can save you money at the pump. While a petrol station right along the highway might be more convenient, you’ll likely pay more per litre for that convenience.


Tip #3 - Take Advantage of Apps


Put your smartphone to work and take advantage of apps that can help you to locate the least expensive petrol in your local area. Such apps can also help you to check traffic before you leave home so that you can avoid wasting time and petrol while idling in traffic jams. But while shopping around is smart and these apps can help you find the best deal, remember that you shouldn’t drive halfway across town to save a few cents per litre (just as you shouldn’t use these tools while you’re actually driving).


Tip #4 - Points for Petrol


If you spend a lot of time on the road, you may find it beneficial to get a credit card that will reward you for purchasing fuel. Be aware that, to make this option work for you, it’s important that you pay off your balance each month, as most of these cards carry high interest rates.


Along with regular credit cards, the major supermarket chains offer petrol rewards programmes that can cut the cost of your fill-ups.

Tip #5 - Avoid Idling Your Engine


Whenever possible, try to avoid letting your vehicle idle. This includes when you’re warming up your vehicle, as well as when you’re at a standstill in traffic. If you realise that you’re going to be sitting in traffic for more than one minute, you’ll save petrol over idling if you shut off and then restart your engine. Though this tip is often overlooked - say, when you park your vehicle for a few minutes while your spouse runs into the store - idling wastes fuel and gives you nothing in return.


Tip #6 - Perform Proper Maintenance on your Vehicle


If you’re at all concerned about your fuel consumption, make proper maintenance a priority. Check your air filter regularly and keep your tyres filled, as under-inflated tyres can result in much lower fuel efficiency. Additionally, under-inflated tyres can also negatively impact the tread life of your tyres, as well as affect your braking and handling. When you don’t have enough air in your tyres, your rolling resistance is significantly increased. And as a result, your car will require more petrol for you to drive.


This impact is so significant that the U.S. Department of Energy reports that mileage can be improved by as much as 3.3 percent, simply by making certain that your tyres are inflated properly. You’ll also find it helpful to clean the air filters in your vehicle regularly, as doing so can help to boost your fuel efficiency significantly. But don’t be a total cheapskate when it comes to filters. If your air filter is extremely dirty, buy a new one as you can only clean one so many times.


Tip #7 - Reduce Your Luggage


When you’re driving, improve your fuel consumption by cutting down the weight in your vehicle. As a rule, the more weight you carry in your vehicle, the more petrol your car will consume. So, avoid using your vehicle as a storage closet. Remember, even an extra 25 kilograms will make a difference. Just don’t take things too far. No matter what they might weigh, you’ll still want to keep your spare tyre, emergency kit and important tools in the boot.


Tip #8 - Drive Slower


While this might not be the most popular tip out there for saving on petrol, it is an effective one. The faster you drive, the more the drag of your vehicle is increased, which - in turn - increases your vehicle's fuel consumption. One easy solution to this issue is to set your cruise control as soon as you safely can so that you won’t be tempted to speed up on a highway.


Tip #9 - Plan Your Travels Wisely


Finally, reduce the total number of kilometres that you drive by carefully planning your errands so that you can accomplish more in one trip. When possible, avoid making separate outings. Not only will this help improve your mileage, as a side benefit, you’ll put less wear-and-tear on your car, as short trips are bad for the engine and transmission.


While it’s true that these nine tips won’t turn your fuel-guzzling jumbo SUV into a petrol-sipping hybrid car, they will help cut your costs at the pump - no matter what you drive. Improving your mileage may not be the most glamourous pursuit of the modern car owner, but it’s an important one for both your vehicle and your wallet.


Image: Wikipedia Commons