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Ed Ordynski's fuel-efficient driving tips


Then we head north in a Holden Cruze and Mitsubishi ASX, looking to see how far this pair can go on a single take of fuel.  Ed Ordynski is in the ASX and I have the Cruze, holding  the trip computer just over 6 litres/100km as Ordynski - expert driver - is below 5 litres/100km.

The first stop is just outside Port Pirie after 250 kilometres and the figures are 5.3 and 4.2, as we battle wind and rain.  A lunch stop in Waikerie - about 530km into the journey - and then a turn south to follow the Murray both cars maintain sub-6 readings - the ASX in the region of 4.5 and the Cruze 5.5 litres per 100km as we pass the 700km mark near Murray Bridge.

The weather worsens as we follow the river south through 730km at Wellington."The ASX was more adversely affected by that, it was 0.3 litres/100km worse off - we did what you need to do into a headwind and that was reduce the speed a little," Ordynski says.

Running down through the southern foothills to complete our 1000km journey we return the tanks to full. There are still 15 litres in the Mitsubishi's 60-litre tank, but my Cruze is almost on fumes.  But after thirteen hours of "real-world" driving we have hit our 1000-kilometre target.

"I would drive like that with people on board and not be embarrassed," Ordynski says.  "You win on fuel use and emissions as well, with 2kg of CO2 for every litre of fuel, you win on maintenance and longevity of the vehicle by driving it kindly as well, it's hard to see a downside."

Ed Ordynski’s Fuel Tips

Level 1. Overall factors

1. Plan when you need to use your car to avoid unnecessary journeys.
2. Plan your journey to avoid peak hour and congested roads.
3. Measure your fuel consumption and take pride in reducing it.
4. Choose an energy efficient vehicle.

Level 2. Anyone can try

1. Concentrate on driving smoothly and anticipate traffic flow to conserve momentum.
2. Keep tyre pressures at maximum recommended.
3. Avoid any excess weight in the vehicle and remove accessories which affect the aerodynamics (e.g. roof racks).
4. Choose a manual transmission and learn to drive it properly for optimum fuel efficiency.

Level 3. Hard-core methods

1. Avoid use of airconditioning and keep windows closed.
2. Do not use cruise control but do focus on keeping a constant speed and conserving momentum.
3. Drive at low speed - most cars are at their most efficient at around 75km/h in top gear.
4. Drive off as soon as the engine is started, especially from a cold start.

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