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Fuel Saving Tips

Richard Oliver has been actively involved in the motor industry for more than thirty years. He has a degree in Automotive Engineering and has worked in the service side of the business (in both England and Australia) for the most of his career. He was the Field Service and Development Manager with Ford Australia where he was responsible for training Ford's spare parts and service personnel throughout Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia.

Engine Operation

  • Avoid prolonged warming up of the engine, even on cold mornings - 30 to 45 seconds is plenty of time.
  • Avoid "revving" the engine unnecessarily, especially just before switching off; this wastes fuel needlessly.
  • Eliminate fast starts. Accelerate slowly when starting from dead stop. Don't push the pedal all the way down, accelerate more evenly. This allows engine to function at peak efficiency.

How to Buy Petrol

  • Buy petrol during the coolest time of the day - early morning or late evening is best. During these times petrol is at it's densest. Keep in mind - pumps measure volumes of petrol, not densities of fuel concentration. You are charged according to 'volume of measurement'.
  • Choose type and brand of petrol carefully. Certain brands provide you with greater economy because of better quality.
  • Avoid filling the tank to the top. Overfilling results in sloshing over and out of the tank. It is recommended not to fill the tank past the first "click" of the fuel nozzle.

How to Drive Economically

  • Exceeding 80kph forces your vehicle to overcome tremendous wind resistance.
  • Never exceed legal speed limit. Whilst speed limits are set for you travelling safety, generally better fuel efficiency also occurs at lower speeds. Travelling at 80kph gives you up to 21% better mileage when compared to legal speed limits of 100 and 110kph.
  • Travelling at fast rates in low gears can consume up to 45% more fuel than is needed.
  • Manual cars allow you to change the appropriate gear in advance, avoiding unnecessary high engine revving.
  • Keep windows closed when travelling at highway speeds. Open windows cause air drag, reducing mileage by 10%.
  • Drive steadily. Slowing down or speeding up wastes fuel.
  • Thinking ahead when approaching hills. If you accelerate, do it before reaching the hill to maintain consistent revs, not while you're on it, which will generally require higher revs.

General Advice

  • Do not rest your left foot on the bake or clutch pedals whilst driving. The slightest pressure puts "mechanical drag" on components, wearing them down prematurely. This "dragging" also demands additional fuel usage.
  • Avoid rough roads whenever possible because dirt or gravel robs you of up to 30% of fuel mileage.
  • Use alternative roads that allow a shorter and straighter distance to be covered. Compare travelling distances - remember that corners, curves and lane jumping require extra fuel.
  • Stoplights are usually timed for your motoring advantage. By travelling steadily at the legal speed limit you boost your chances of having the "green light" all the way.
  • Automatic transmissions should be allowed to cool down when your car is idling at a stand still. Do not rev the car unnecessarily at the lights or stand still.
  • Regular tune-ups ensure best economy. Check owner's manual for recommended maintenance intervals. Special attention should be given to maintaining clean air filters - diminished airflow increases fuel usage.
  • Inspect suspension and chassis parts for occasional misalignment. Bent wheels, axles, bad shocks, broken springs etc create engine drag and are unsafe at high travelling speeds.
  • Choose the appropriate tyre for your driving habits - tyres designed for driving in muddy conditions driven on sealed roads will consume significantly more fuel.
  • Inflate all tyres to maximum limit. Each tyre should be rotated, balanced and checked for out-of-round. Radial designs are the recognised fuel savers.
  • Automatic air conditioners reduce fuel economy by 10% to 20%. The more load on your engine, the greater fuel consumption.
  • Remove excess weight form your vehicle - extra tyres, back seats and unnecessary heavy parts. Extra weight reduces mileage, especially when driving up inclines.

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