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Improve Your Fuel Consumption and Reduce Your Emissions!

Conserving fuel and reducing emissions isn't as hard as you think. There are many small things you can do to ensure your vehicle runs at its optimum level, saving you money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, you can improve fuel-efficiency by as much as 30% just by maintaining your vehicle and driving responsibly.

1. Slow down!

Driving at high speeds significantly increases fuel consumption. Obey the speed limit – not only is it safer, but fuel efficiency drops significantly over speeds of approximately 95km/h. Use cruise control to maintain a constant speed and enhance fuel-efficiency on the highway.

2. Combine trips.

Vehicles use more fuel at the start of trips, and on short trips. Try to do a number of things in one trip, saving time and fuel. Replace short vehicle trips with walking or cycling – this saves greenhouse gas emissions per km and gives you exercise too.

3. Lose weight.

Don’t carry unnecessary weight in your vehicle. Remove roof racks and heavy items like sports equipment when you’re not using them. The more weight a vehicle carries, the more fuel it uses.

4. Regular servicing.

Regular servicing helps keep the engine at its best efficiency. Check your manufacturer’s handbook to see how often you should service your car.

For more benefits of servicing your car, click here.

5. Drive smoothly.

Driving at a constant speed is more efficient than stop/start driving. Accelerate smoothly - more revs means more petrol use. Drive a good distance from the vehicle in front, to avoid unnecessary acceleration and frequent repetitive braking (both waste more fuel). If you have cruise control, use it on long journey to maintain a smooth speed.

6. Use air-conditioning sparingly.

Running air-conditioning continuously increases fuel consumption. However, at speeds of over 80km/h, air-conditioning is better for fuel consumption than an open window (see aerodynamic drag). If your car is very hot when you start a trip, keep the windows down for a few minutes to cool the car down before starting the air-conditioning.

7. Turn your car off!

When a car is idling it uses more fuel than that required to turn it on. If you are going to be stopped for more a minute, turn off the engine.

8. Use the correct grade of motor oil.

If you use the wrong grade of motor oil, it can increase the friction in your engine, meaning it gets hotter and uses more fuel.

9. Use the right fuel.

Make sure you use the octane fuel your vehicle was designed for, and replace your fuel filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

10. Diesel engines.

If you are going to buy a diesel, ensure it is a ‘common rail’ type, as these are approximately 10% more efficient than older diesels.

11. Check your fuel consumption!

This will help you get the most from your vehicle. Changes in overall fuel consumption may indicate a fault.

12. Check your air filter.

Check the filter regularly to ensure that it is clean. A dirty intake filter reduces the amount of air entering the cylinders of the engine, resulting in incomplete combustion.

13. Drive in the right gear.

Driving in a gear that is lower than you need, or when the engine labours in top gear on hills both waste fuel. If you drive a manual, change up gears as soon as the car is comfortable with the higher gear. If you drive an automatic, easy back slightly on the accelerator once the car gathers momentum, to allow the transmission to shift up more quickly and smoothly. Avoid the use of power options that drop the car into a lower gear, therefore using more fuel.

14. Minimise aerodynamic drag.

Remove roof racks and bike racks when not in use, and shut the windows – as these increase air resistance and fuel consumption, particularly at high speeds. When using roof racks, load them carefully to minimise wind resistance.

15. Carpool.

Make the most of carpool lanes and cut down on fuel bills by sharing rides, when possible.