Tips to keep fuel costs down on long trips

On a long drive around Australia, you’re undoubtedly going to spend a fair portion of your budget on fuel at the service station.

However, a few simple maintenance checks and changes to your driving behaviour can dramatically reduce your fuel costs. You probably won’t save enough to afford an extra week on the road, but you will have a little extra to spend at our fantastic roadside attractions. Fuel-efficient driving behaviours are also better for the environment, so everyone wins.

  • Smooth driving: Aim for smooth, slow acceleration and braking. This can cut fuel consumption by almost a quarter over a long journey.
  • Slow down: Travelling at 90 km/hr instead of 110 km/hr uses around 30 percent less fuel. Consider taking your foot off the accelerator a little on the highway.
  • Check tyres: Ensure your tyres are properly inflated. A slightly flat tyre, just one psi below the recommendation, can decrease fuel efficiency by around three percent.
  • Pack light: Every extra 45kg in your vehicle or caravan reduces fuel efficiency by as much as two percent.
  • Windows down: In most cases, having the windows down is more fuel efficient than running the air-conditioning.
  • Plan ahead: Idling and crawling through traffic chews through petrol. Plan your route to avoid heavily congested areas, roadworks and busy times of the day.
  • Reduce resistance: Your engine needs to work overtime to fight increased wind resistance. Try to make your vehicle is as streamlined as possible. Of course, this is difficult if towing a van or using roof racks.
  • Avoid idling: It might sound obvious, but many people don’t realise that an idling engine still consumes petrol. Turn the engine off if it looks like you’ll be stationary for more than ten seconds.
  • Regular servicing: Your car will run much more efficiently with regular tune-ups and oil changes. Make sure you keep up to date with your car services.

More tips on keeping your car in good working order are located here.