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Fuel saving tips for today

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    A few more, less common fuel saving tips...

AS fuel prices reach two-year highs, motorists are looking for ways to ease the financial burden.

The various automobile clubs, tyre companies and car manufacturers have responded by trotting out the usual economy tips such as drive slower and smoother, correctly inflate tyres and make fewer trips.

But we've heard it all before.

So, may we present these five radical ideas to reducing your fuel expense burden.

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Cool idea
Turning off the airconditioning will provide a slight increase in fuel economy. However, when travelling on the highway, it is more fuel efficient to have the windows up and aircon switched on than having the windows down and create aerodynamic drag. Don't leave the aircon off for long periods as bacteria will build up in the system.

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Light is right
So throw out not only the unnecessary baggage such as your golf clubs, but maybe even the spare tyre. A spare tyre can weigh 15-20kg in the average car. The US Department of Energy quotes fuel use as of 1-2 per cent for every 45.5kg, so that's at least 0.5 per cent saved. Conversely, NRMA tests show that loading a vehicle up to its rated maximum increases fuel consumption by 24 per cent. While you might be able to get away with taking the spare tyre out around town, we recommend you should always carry it on long trips, especially in the country.

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Turned off
Switch off the engine at long traffic light stops. Modern fuel-injected cars start quickly without the need for any throttle. Car makers with stop-start technology that automatically switches off the engine every time the car is stopped quote fuel savings in traffic of 4-5 per cent.

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Just cruising
Use cruise control more frequently. Most cruise control systems actually put the car's engine into an economy mode and will run more efficiently than most drivers as it accelerates more slowly. It is best used on the open road and not hilly terrain or stop-start conditions. While we could not find any official figures, some internet forums claim fuel savings up to 14 per cent.

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Re-tyre
The next time you buy tyres, choose from the new range of "eco" tyres with low rolling resistance. A California Energy Commission study estimated low-rolling resistance tyres could save 1.5-4.5 per cent on fuel consumption next time you buy tyres, choose from the new range of "eco" tyres with low rolling resistance.

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 3 comments

  • We seem to be clutching at straws here. Removing the spare to save less weight than the average fattie should lose for the benefit of their own health is just plain dumb and the wear and tear from frequent start ups will counter fuel saved by switching off in traffic.  Best fuel saving? Use the bloody car less! I have halved my annual KM by better planning trips and using the bus more. Now THAT’s a real saving-it’s like having 70 cents off per litre PLUS double the life of tyre and brakes, etc. Next invest in some advanced driver training, focusing on improving your driving skills to reduce fuel use and also reduce your mechanical wear. After these steps, stop being a wouser and enjoy driving well, with the knowledge that you are doing it all better and safer than you used too. Think More, Drive Less.

    Bob Jay Posted on 07 April 2011 10:00pm
  • And why wouldn’t I want to carry a spare tyre ?
    Turn off engine in traffic ?

    What sort of garbage is this ? Get ur license out of a doughnut box ?

    joe Posted on 04 April 2011 4:54pm
  • Why dont reviewers test cars with the air con on Most of the time i drive with the air con on and so do a lot of my friends. Also an air con will affect the performance of a small car more than a large car.

    Graham J of Australia Posted on 02 April 2011 2:59pm

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