Petrol prices are on the rise. It usually costs around $70 to fill up my humble Ford Focus at the bowser, but yesterday it cost me $80! That’s a pretty significant jump in a few weeks. According to ABC News’ latest report they are set to soar this year and we’ll be getting more pain at the pump!
It’s a good thing that each year’s crop of new cars are getting more efficient to help ease the discomfort we are all feeling from these money-sucking bowsers. But then there’s the whole issue of how you drive your car. The proposed mileage your car salesperson may have sold you, will not hold nearly as much weight if you are burning people off at the lights and driving at full speed down a highway when you could ease off a little and jump into the slow lane.
Here are five simple tips you for slashing your gas bill and getting more bang for your buck!
1. Lighten the load!
If you are a mum like me you may be guilty of this one. I often use my car as a spare room. In fact, I practically live in my car as my life as mum and taxi driver. Then there’s my weekend clean outs – so I’ll often have bags of stuff in the back of my car designated for the op shops. Then there’s the pram and gear for the beach during summer.
Yes. It is convenient to keep stuff in my car – but lugging all that stuff around can get heavy so I’ve become more conscious of taking the really heavy stuff out. So the pram is now out and the stuff for the op-shops gets dropped off that day!
Options include taking all that stuff out or buying a car that actually weighs less than my Ford Focus, as opposed to say – a Land Rover.
Bonus tip: Also avoid putting cargo on your roof to avoid aerodynamic drag and boost efficiency!
2. Lose your idle habits
Leaving your car running when it’s parked is a great way to burn unnecessary fuel. Check out my article on 10 ways to burn cash with your car and you’ll get the picture! Idling can use up to almost two litres of fuel per hour, depending on the size of your car’s engine and whether or not you leave the air-conditioner blasting. Make a habit of turning your car off when it’s parked. That’s the whole point of parking it!
3. Go easy on the pedals
Let’s compare the difference between cost-effective driving and hammering like a crazy heavy-footed gas-guzzling maniac! Sure. You can be assertive on the road. You can do it with stickers, signage and hand signals if you like. But slamming on the brakes and overtaking vehicles just for the fun or in a pent-up road-rage fury is not only silly – but it is expensive! So easy off the accelerator, gear-down instead of brake and take it a bit slower and you’ll find your car will feel the love in terms of less wear and tear and better fuel economy. Be nice to your car and it will repay you in cash!
4. Stick to the speed limit
Try to avoid being a ‘need to speed’ type. I usually catch up with most people who pass me at the next set of lights. Sure – people call me ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ but my car is a place of peace, happiness and relaxation! Those speed-demons really should try it, because driving around like a maniac actually makes a person feel more aggressive. So use cruise control, stick within the speed limit, drive at a consistent speed and enjoy the ride! You’ll probably get to your destination within the same timeframe and you’ll get there with more money in your pocket and that’s a great reason to slow down!
5. Consolidate your trips
At the end of a long day at work most people just want to get home and relax. In the evening they might head out again and run errands like doing a grocery shop or checking a post box. But stop! Try to consolidate your trips and run those errands on the way home. Remember – every time you get in that money-sucking machine you are taking money out of your bank account. Make a list of your errands. Actually I keep an ‘out and about’ checklist on Trello. That way when I am out in my car – I make sure all my ‘out and abouts’ are done in one go. This not only saves money in terms of petrol but also makes my life easier by doing my tasks in bulk and consolidating your trips!
These are just a few simple steps you can take to put more cash in your stash. Be sure to check out my Auto and Cars section to learn more driving habits you can adopt to save time and money. Happy driving!