Don’t be aggressive, park in the shade to save on fuel

With fuel prices going up we need to do everything we can to cut the costs. Picture: Cleyton Ewerton/Pexels

With fuel prices going up we need to do everything we can to cut the costs. Picture: Cleyton Ewerton/Pexels

Published Aug 2, 2023


The petrol price has gone up again, so it is time to unpack your car – not just because you won’t be travelling as much, but because a lighter car means a lighter impact on your fuel usage.

Parking in the shade will also help.

Yes, some of the advice people share to help reduce fuel costs may seem obvious or random, but with the cost of living continually rising, every little thing we can do to make life a little easier on ourselves, and our wallets, will make a difference.

If you do a number of things together, this will also eventually reduce your petrol usage, and therefore the costs. Furthermore, reducing fuel usage helps the environment by lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Until we can see some relief at the pumps, here are some clever – and quirky – tips to help you cut down on your fuel usage:

1. Be calm, drive smoothly

Avoid aggressive driving behaviours like sudden accelerations and hard braking. Smooth driving helps conserve fuel by reducing the strain on your engine and brakes.

Similarly, if you employ eco-driving techniques like coasting to stops, anticipating traffic flow, and maintaining a steady speed, you will maximise fuel efficiency and minimise wear on your vehicle.

2. Be compliant, obey the speed limit

Driving at a moderate and consistent speed can significantly improve fuel efficiency. Speeding increases air resistance which leads to higher fuel consumption.

3. Be wise, maintain your vehicle

Regularly servicing your car, including oil changes, air filter replacements, and tyre maintenance can improve fuel efficiency as a well-maintained vehicle runs more smoothly and consumes less fuel.

4. Be patient, switch off the engine

If you anticipate being stationary for more than a minute or two, turn off your engine instead of idling. Idling consumes fuel without moving your vehicle, so avoiding unnecessary idling can save you petrol.

5. Be lean, lighten the load

Clear out any unnecessary items from your car's boot and interior as carrying extra weight puts a strain on your engine and decreases fuel efficiency.

6. Be cool, reduce your use of the aircon

Air-conditioning can increase fuel consumption which is why, at lower speeds or in-city driving, you should consider using your car’s fan instead of the air-conditioner. If it is safe to do so, you should consider opening the windows.

If you are driving on the freeway though, using the aircon is generally more efficient than rolling down the windows. This is because open windows create an aerodynamic drag.

7. Be organised, plan your routes

To reduce driving unnecessary distances you should plan your trips in advance and combine a number of activities in one trip. Not only will this avoid multiple short trips and save on the distance you are covering, but cold starts also use more fuel.

You can also use your GPS to find the most fuel-efficient routes to take.

8. Be kind, share rides

By having lift clubs or sharing rides with friends, family, or colleagues, you can reduce fuel consumption spend and help lower traffic congestion.

9. Be different, stay away from others

Driving in heavy or rush-hour traffic leads to frequent stops and slow movements, both of which decrease fuel efficiency. If you can, adjust your schedule to avoid driving in these conditions.

10. Be buff, pump your tyres

If your tyres are under-inflated it will increase your fuel usage. Thus, you must check your tyre pressure regularly and keep them inflated to the recommended levels.

11. Be chill, cruise along

If you are travelling on long, flat stretches of road, use cruise control to maintain a constant speed. This will help you improve your fuel efficiency by preventing unnecessary speed fluctuations.

12. Be sleek, don’t use roof racks

Roof racks and carriers create additional drag which can reduce fuel efficiency, especially at higher speeds. Only use them when you need to.

13. Be polite, use shade wisely

As if this was not already a non-negotiable in our climate, parking in the shade on hot days can help keep your car cooler and therefore not require excessive use of your air conditioner.