Penny-Pinching Petrol Tips
Wednesday, 28 March 2012 11:26
The golden rule when it comes to taking out a car loan, no matter how much you shop around (or get us to shop around) is that the bigger a deposit you can scrape together and the quicker you can pay the loan off, the less interest you’ll pay and the less you’ll have to pay in total. Now, as every frugal person knows – and that includes a number of self-made millionaires – it’s the little things that count and if you can cut costs back, even if only by a little bit, you’ll end up saving a lot in the long run. To quote an old proverb “Many a little makes a mickle,” where “mickle” is an old dialect word meaning “lot”.
Petrol (or whatever powers your car) is one place that you can cut down on your costs if you’re canny. While you’re in the market for a new car and a car loan, take some time to check out the fuel efficiency (either in miles per gallon or in litres per 100 km) of the vehicle you’re about to purchase. Get an efficient vehicle after owning and driving a thirstier model and you’ll be amazed at how your petrol bill goes down. But no matter what you ultimately end up choosing – and there are times when you will need a big, powerful vehicle that can tow stuff rather than a little city hatchback – how you drive it also makes a difference.
The following tips are proven to cut down on your petrol costs.
1 Drive less aggressively. If you keep your speed to the legal limit and don’t alternate between flooring it and slamming on the brakes, you will use less fuel. And, as an added bonus, you’ll save yourself a few costs when it comes to repairs and maintenance AND you’ll be safer as you drive. This fact’s been proven in many studies for vehicles big and small.
2 Take off the roof rack. If you can take it off some of the time, do so. Anything that increased the wind resistance of your vehicle makes it less aerodynamic and less fuel-efficient. A bloke I know who does gardening professionally managed to reduce his petrol bill by 20% simply by lowering the height of his work trailer so that it didn’t stick up over the top of his work ute.
3 Select the right gear for the job. Trucks these days have a “green band” in their rev counter that lets the driver know when the engine is sitting at its most fuel-efficient. Not the place where it reaches maximum power – the place where it’s most efficient. It’s a pity that cars don’t have this, although some are starting to in the push for more eco-friendly cars. However, all of us can learn by using our ears when our car engine is working too hard or slowing down and heading towards stall speed.
4 Combine trips. Instead of taking one trip to get the kids to sports, then back home, then another trip to the shops and then back home again and then another trip to pick the kids back up again (and so on), plan ahead and combine trips.
5 Look at alternatives. This doesn’t always mean public transport, especially if you’ve got a family to transport. However, for shorter journeys (a couple of kilometres or less), take a bike or walk, as these only burn calories and you can save on gym membership while you’re at it.
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