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Efficient driving skills equals petrol saving

We take a look at ways to help you save on fuel.

Do you have to accept your fate, or are there steps you can take to reduce what you spend on fuel? Fortunately, some simple changes to your driving habits can save you as much as a third of your monthly fuel costs.

First, consider if your car is worth keeping; if it’s an older, fuel-inefficient car, the potential savings from changing how you drive may not amount to much. You might also consider whether it makes sense to convert your engine to LPG. However, for most car owners a simpler first step will be to change your driving habits.

We sometimes forget that an under inflated tyre can decrease fuel efficiency as well as our safety. Check and top-up your tyre pressure to the manufacturer’s recommendations fortnightly and it will actually save you fuel. If it’s time for new tyres, you might want to consider Eco tyres which are designed to increase fuel efficiency.

Before you even get into your car, make sure you preplan your trip, since planning means you’re less likely to get lost and waste petrol or getting side-tracked for that matter. If you can help it, try to avoid driving during peak hour. When the roads are congested, it means continuous stopping and slow driving, which means your car is consuming more petrol, compared to an off-peak run.

Don’t leave your engine running when you first start up your car, as excessive idling will drain fuel. Once the engine is running it is best to drive off straight away however you should drive gently till the engine reaches its usual operating temperature.

Driving with your windows and sunroof open plays a part in decreasing fuel efficiency. The amount of fuel wastage is far more than putting the air conditioner on, especially when you are cursing on the motorway. Remember the air conditioner decreases fuel so try not to use it too much.

You may not realise that having a heavy foot and braking heavily can significantly increase your fuel consumption. Accelerate and brake more gently, you must take notice of the red light ahead and begin to slow the car down to a stop rather than braking when you are 50 metres away.

Weighing down your car with a trailer or adding wind resistance with roof racks, big side mirrors or large spoilers will all increase your car’s fuel consumption. Extra weight can lessen your efficiency by approximately ”2% for every 45kg,” Nikki Watkins from Moneywise claims. So next time you jump into your car for a drive make sure you remove any extra baggage that may be in the boot or the backseat.

Driving with the correct gear is another way of lowering fuel consumption. The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) says you should always drive in the highest gear possible without straining the engine, you should also think ahead, so you can drop gears gradually which will allow you to brake gradually. The RAC claims that this will increase fuel efficiency by up to a third.

The type of car you drive also affects how much you will be spending at the bowser. For example a Ford Falcon XR6 with aV6 engine will cost you anywhere between $80 to $100 for a full tank compared to a 1.8L Toyota Celica which would cost you $50 for a full tank.

While you are being more fuel-efficient minded don’t forget to make use of special offers such as the petrol discount receipts, and don’t forget to take advantage of more fuel efficient fuel mixes for instance, Shell’s recently announced New Fuel Economy Formula. Shell is hoping to set a good example for the fuel industry and to provide a more economical option for motorists.

Shell’s new mix will be the same price as ordinary petrol, but the company claims it offers more kilometers to the liter. The new formula was recently tested by an Australian couple John and Helen Taylor; they previously set the world record for driving around the world with only 24 tanks of petrol. The couple drove a distance of 18,000km per year an average run for the Australian motorist. The Taylors managed to average 13.3km per liter, and along the way, they also managed to make an annual saving of approximately $450.

Shell says the new formula fuel will gradually be introduced at Shell service stations nationwide, including Coles Express.

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