Ken Smith puts fuel in his vehicle at Metro Petroleum in West Ipswich.
Ken Smith puts fuel in his vehicle at Metro Petroleum in West Ipswich. Rob Williams

EXPLAINED: How to save fuel on road and money at pump

RECORD high fuel prices are hitting Ipswich motorists hard at the hip pocket.

While filling up the tank is an unavoidable burden for families, RACQ has released a few tips to get the most mileage out of your tank.

With the average cost of fuel hovering at $1.632, every millilitre saved will benefit drivers.

The RACQ's fair fuel price in Ipswich today is 161.cpl for unleaded but only four stations across the city are beating that price.

The price is trending downwards.

DRIVE ECONOMICALLY

Around town, you'll use less fuel if you:

- Drive smoothly and try to maintain a steady speed

- Use the gearbox sensibly, and change up through the gears as soon as practical

- If you drive an automatic, ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car has gained sufficient speed

- Avoid peak hour and other heavy traffic where possible

- Avoid engine idling for long periods

On the freeway, you'll use less fuel if you:

- Reduce speed - you can reduce your fuel consumption by as much as 25 per cent by taking 20 km/h off your speed

- Use cruise control if you've got it

- Use your car's air conditioner sparingly

- Keep the windows up and use the ventilation system when travelling over about 50 km/h, if your car doesn't have air conditioning

- If your car's transmission has power and economy modes, use the economy mode to ensure the transmission up-shifts earlier.

CARE FOR YOUR CAR

Get your car serviced regularly to keep its running costs down and to help save on fuel.

- Keep the engine correctly tuned

- Keep filters in good condition

- Keep the fuel and ignition systems in good working order

- Regularly change the engine oil using the correct grade of oil as recommended by the manufacturer.

INFLATE TYRES

- Check your tyre pressure once a week, when the tyres are cold

- Keep your tyres inflated to a pressure slightly higher than that stated in the vehicle handbook

- Setting the tyre pressure slightly higher will aid in fuel economy and safer handling.

CHECK ALIGNMENT

- Ensure the wheel alignment is correctly set and the brakes aren't dragging, as these can both increase rolling resistance and chew up more fuel

LIGHTEN YOUR CAR

- If you can, reduce the amount of gear in your car.

- Things like golf clubs and toolboxes add unnecessary weight, which in turn increases fuel consumption

- External attachments such as roof racks will increase wind resistance and fuel use. If possible, remove them when not in use and when you are using them, load them carefully to minimise wind resistance

BE WARY OF DEVICES

- There are many devices on the market claiming to improve your car's performance and save buckets of fuel

- Very few have been proven to work by repeatable scientific tests.

- If you're considering such devices, do your research carefully. Only consider products that are proven by a properly accredited local testing authority using the Australian Standard 4430.2 test protocol. Australian Standard 4430.2 is an internationally recognised test that was specifically devised to test products that claim to improve performance and reduce fuel consumption

USE YOUR CAR LESS

- One of the best ways to save on fuel costs is to stop using your car so much

- Explore other options like public transport, car pooling, walking or riding a bike

- If you must use your car, try to combine a few smaller trips into one

- A cold engine is less fuel-efficient and emits more pollutants than a warm engine, so several shorter trips will use more fuel than one longer trip.


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