4 Jan 16
When calculating your household expenses for the week, apart from groceries and utilities such as electricity and water, one of the main factors to take into account is fuel costs. Owning a car can provide vital mobility for many, especially for those who live in places where public transport is scarce.
According to the last report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the average Australian spends about $60 per week on fuel1. However, for thrifty buyers, there is plenty you can do to cut down your private transport costs.
1. Start off with a fuel-efficient car
Choosing a car that can go more kilometres per litre is a great place to start. A car's Green Rating can be a great insight into fuel efficiency. In addition, lighter vehicles take less energy to move, and require less fuel to get from A to B.
In the past, manual transmission vehicles were deemed to be more fuel efficient to drive, as you had more control over the selection of gears. However, modern automatic vehicles have seen huge progression in fuel economy thanks to additional gears, according to Edmunds2.
2. Practice good driving behaviour
Once you've found the right vehicle, it's time to take a look at how you're driving it. Careful driving can go a long way to reducing your fuel needs. This can include using your air conditioning sparingly and accelerating and braking as smoothly as possible.
Avoiding peak commute times is also a good idea, as you may have to keep your engine idling whilst stationary in gridlock traffic.
The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) recommends checking your tyres are correctly inflated, as this can impact fuel efficiency when traction and handling are less than ideal. In addition, the RACQ notes that regular servicing can contribute towards keeping your car running as efficiently as possible3.
Even seemingly minor adjustments such as wheel alignment can help, as the RACQ explains that when brakes are dragging on the wheels it can increase fuel consumption3.
1ABS, Household Energy Consumption Survey, Australia: Summary of Results, 2012. Accessed August, 2015.
2Edmunds, Five Myths About Stick Shifts: Manual vs Automatic Transmissions. Accessed August, 2015.3RACQ, Fuel saving tips. Accessed August, 2015.