Rising fuel costs have had us all wondering how we can save fuel – and save on fuel too. Australia is in the midst of a six-month excise on fuel prices across the country with the government stepping in to try to manage rising petrol costs. But to say we’re reaping the benefits of that is contentious.
In some regions, like South Australia and the Northern Territory, fuel prices have returned to record levels. It can even be found as priced higher than before the 22.1c/litre fuel excise cut on unleaded petrol and diesel (7.2c/litre on automotive LPG) was temporarily implemented.
Many of us are increasingly out and about on the roads post-pandemic, so we’re pretty aware of the hurt to the hip pocket.
The good news for those who own a car, converted vehicle or wheelchair accessible vehicle is that there are ways to save on fuel. Check out our tips below.
Save fuel with a car change
You may love your trusty motor, but is it guzzling gas like no one’s business? It might be a good idea in the long run to swap it out for something more modern and fuel efficient.
Even if you drive a wheelchair accessible vehicle, there may be smaller and more economical options. A Volkswagen Caddy or Renault Kangoo can fit most powered/manual wheelchairs just as well as the larger Volkswagen Transporter or Kia Carnival can.
You can read more about the pros and cons of different wheelchair accessible vehicles here as well as driving a converted vehicle that caters for disability here.
Give your engine some TLC
Even if you’re not able to trade-in – after all, right now we’re all try to save on expenditure in the short-term – you can give your existing vehicle some much needed TLC that could have an impact on how you save fuel.
A well-tuned engine can save a surprising amount of fuel. And all it takes is some simple maintenance and routine servicing. For example, one of the worse fuel guzzling culprits is a car battery in a poor condition, so keep a check on your battery’s health.
Maintain your services so they’re up to date and be sure to keep a close eye on flashing dashboard symbols in the meantime. Understanding and acting upon what your car is communicating is key to preventing serious damage that can cost a lot more than early, fast-acting fixes.
It’s a good idea to think of reducing your idling while you’re thinking engine care. The engines of modern cars don’t need to be ‘warmed up’ before driving and any time you save on waiting for someone/something with the engine on (like a passenger to pop into the shops for milk or a schoolchild to exit the school gates) means fuel saved too.
Less speed and drag, more savings
Not all of us are in the market for a new car and the majority of us are up to date with services and maintenance. So what’s the next option to save fuel?
You can start by being more mindful of how you drive. Reduce your speed and acceleration, brake smoothly and well in advance of stops, and take it easy on the aircon. All these will reduce the amount of petrol you use. Even keeping the windows closed will help save fuel – it allows your vehicle to maintain the best aerodynamics, reducing unnecessary drag.
The same goes with anything attached to the outside of your vehicle, like a roof pod or bike rack. Objects like this will also cause wind resistance and drag, which will require more power (and thus more fuel) from your vehicle. If you don’t need them, don’t leave them attached. Every little bit counts.
Tyre and other pressure too
Your tyre pressure can also have an influence on fuel consumption. The right tyre pressure means there’s less friction between the wheels and the road, so make sure you know your car’s manufacturer recommended tyre pressure.
It’s something most of us don’t check as regularly as we should. Same goes for rotating our tyres so they wear evenly front and back, left and right.
Check out this article on why is car tyre pressure so important so you can understand what’s in play here.
Also be conscious of how much you have loaded in your boot – the heavier your car, the more fuel it takes to get around. Keeping your vehicle as light as possible will help it move more effortlessly along the road.
PS: Keep your vehicle in tiptop shape and check out our piece on how you could be damaging your wheelchair accessible car without knowing.
To save fuel, keep it loyal
Another nifty trick to save on fuel prices is by getting a petrol station-specific loyalty card. Many of these offer decent cashbacks or loyalty points when you fill your tank.
Also bear in mind that petrol stations charge differently for fuel, and you may be able to scout out places where you’ll pay less. Instead of driving out a ton of petrol finding one, though, try sites like Petrol Spy and Fuel Map Australia. They can pinpoint cheap petrol prices in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Darwin and Canberra. Some apps are even state-specific, like NSW FuelCheck.
Another clever trick is ‘locking in’ a price using the 7-Eleven app, like this Aussie mom did. The app allows you to “lock in” a price for up to a week, and you can then redeem it at any 7-Eleven service station. You’ll have to mindful of keeping your eye on petrol prices and locking it in when you spot a bargain – but you can definitely save using this trick.
Save on insurance as you save on fuel
You’ll be pleased to know that with Blue Badge Insurance our car insurance for wheelchair accessible vehicles and disability converted cars includes cover for assistive technology you travel with in your car.
Contact us today to find out about that, our wheelchair insurance, our mobility scooter insurance and/or getting up to 25% off disability car insurance if you have a disability parking permit.