If you find yourself reeling as you watch the dollars whiz by while you fill up at the pump, you’re not alone. But, we have good news! We’ve grilled the good folks at Toyota, who have all the tips and trick (and myths to debunk!) about how to bring that cost down.
In Partnership with Toyota
As we hurtle towards Christmas, after a year that has been seriously tough on our bank accounts, we’re all about looking for ways to save whatever we can, wherever we can. And, it turns out there’s some serious savings to be made at the petrol pump – and they only require a few small changes in behaviour!
If you’re already driving a hybrid or fully electric vehicle, congratulations, you’ve likely already forgotten the sense of dread that comes with pulling into a petrol station and making a guess at how much it’s going to be to fill up – only for it to be well over your wildest dreams. But don’t worry, if you’re still driving a car with a traditional combustion engine, this isn’t one of those stories where we tell you the only answer is to go electric. Electric or hybrids are obviously a great way to eliminate those costs, but, there are plenty of ways to reduce the amount of petrol you’re burning through.
Let’s start with a few stories we’ve heard over the years about how to drive a car more fuel efficiently. Do they stack up? We put these to the experts at Toyota to steer us straight and separate fact from fiction.
True or False: The Petrol Saving Edition!
True or False: You use more fuel when you drive over the speed limit
True! A vehicle’s engine needs to overcome the weight of the car and the resistance of the tyres and other moving parts to propel it down the road. Wind resistance becomes a factor once the vehicle exceeds walking pace, it increases exponentially the faster the vehicle travels. Therefore, traveling at or below the speed limit will use less fuel compared to exceeding it.
True or False: You use more fuel making lots of short journeys, rather than a couple of long ones?
True! Internal combustion engines are designed to operate most efficiently at a steady state and at an optimum temperature. Short journeys typically mean the engine needs to warm up and reach that optimum temperature several times which waists fuel through inefficiency.
True or False: You use less fuel when you have a full tank
False! if anything, the vehicle will use slightly more fuel due to the additional weight of a full fuel tank. However, the difference would be negligible.
True or False: You use less fuel when your tyres have good pressure
True! Low tyre pressure increases the rolling resistance of the tyre against the road, meaning that the engine has to work harder to push the car along. The NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US) says the fuel consumption goes up by 0.3% for every PSI (this is referring to the pound-force per square inch!) of underinflation. It is not unusual for tyres to lose nine or ten PSI in one year, so you see how this adds up quickly!
True or False: You use more fuel if you’re constantly stopping at traffic lights, roundabouts and in heavy traffic
True. Stop-start driving causes the engine to operate outside of its most efficient region.
True or False: Air conditioning can chew through your fuel
It depends on your car! Air condition definitely consumes a significant amount of energy, particularly when trying to cool the cabin during very hot weather. Most modern vehicles utilise a climate control function which tries to optimise the A/C operation to improve efficiency. Hence they are significantly better than older vehicles with fairly crude A/C systems
Want More Tips?
We’re with you. Now that we’re not going to stress as much about ensuring our car stays near full constantly, or worry that the air-con is chewing through the petrol – and can justify that summer road trip (a long journey is better than lots of little ones, right!), we’re eager to get as many tips from the experts while we have them on call as possible.
So, here’s another seven tips from the Toyota experts for ensuring your car is as fuel efficient as possible:
- Always keep your car well maintained to ensure it is operating at its most efficient
- Check tyre pressure regularly (once a month)
- Keep your car clean! Clean cars pass through the air with less resistance and therefore use less fuel (they also look better!)
- Roof racks and roof storage boxes create wind resistance, remove them when they are not needed
- Don’t carry around unnecessary items in the vehicle; extra weight = more fuel use
- Don’t idle your engine unnecessarily – modern engines do not need to be warmed up before driving – just jump in and drive. Gently!
- Use moderate acceleration and stick to the speed limit
Hmm… Is it time to switch to a hybrid or an electric vehicle?
It’s a no-brainer that if you really want to get serious about reducing your petrol bill, the answer is to look at a hybrid or electric vehicle, which either cuts down the amount you consume drastically, or removes the need for petrol entirely.
In the coming months we’ll be bringing you more in-depth info about hybrids and electric vehicles, but what we can tell you, is they are fun, quiet, and heck, they are surprisingly speedy. Plus, you get to feel smug, because you’re creating lower emissions, and saving money at the pump! Everyone wins.
Toyota is the brand to turn to if you’re looking to go electric or hybrid – they’ve been producing them since the 90s and Toyota Hybrid Electric Vehicles now travel more electric kilometres than any other type of vehicle the world over. The best place to start, is to head to this website that gives you the run-down on all their different options – with a very handy little graph on each car that lets you know exactly what its fuel consumption is as well as its CO2 emissions. Good luck!