Fuel efficiency means fuel economy. That's more dollars in your pocket at the end of the week, and less environmental impact. You win. The environment wins.
There are all sorts of things you can do to drive more fuel efficiently. But your choice of car will be the key to spending less on fuel. All cars now have well-documented fuel consumption characteristics, which can help you understand the running costs of a car on your consideration list. It's all about understanding the total cost of ownership and how much your new car impacts the world around you.
Understanding Your Fuel Options
You have three main choices when you pull into your local petrol station: 91 octane, 95 octane and diesel. Modern vehicles perform best and most fuel-efficient with the recommended fuel type. Using the wrong fuel may lead to increased fuel consumption and engine wear and could end up costing you more. Stick with the manufacturers’ recommendations.
Don’t forget to factor in the type of fuel recommended for your car in determining fuel costs. But type of fuel is only one factor to consider.
Up to six stars for the most efficient cars.
Cost per year to run the car
Based on an average fuel price and a distance.
Fuel economy in litres per 100km
Based on performance of a new model of the car.
Average fuel price
Used to calculate the cost per year for comparison purposes.
The label is displayed on all cars manufactured after 2000, provided the information is available. Labels and fuel calculators are available from the Fuelsaver website.
Figures are tested under controlled conditions and are provided for comparison purposes, actual results will vary according to vehicle usage and operating conditions.
Keep an eye on your fuel use
There are cars that can indicate fuel efficiency while driving
If your vehicle is equipped with a fuel efficiency meter, switching operations on the Multi-Information Display (MID) or car navigation display can indicate average fuel efficiency and fuel efficiency at a given moment (the latter is great for monitoring your driving on longer trips or around town).
There are also cars that have an eco-driving indicator, which lights up when your driving is eco-friendly, as well as a zone indicator that shows accelerator opening degree and your current range of eco-friendly driving.
Tips for Improved Fuel Efficiency
Your driving style plays an important part in your fuel consumption, and considerable savings can be made by following these guidelines:
1. Plan trips
Organise yourself to minimise errand-related short trips and map out fuel-efficient routes for long trips.
2. Check tyre pressure
Try to check your tyre pressure at least once a month. If it's difficult, ask to have your tyres checked at a gas station. Remember, fuel efficiency decreases by around 2% in the city or by 4% in the suburbs if your tyre pressure is just 50kpa (0.5kg/cm2) lower than standard. A half-inflated tyre, is a costly tyre.
3. Be relaxed
Aggressive driving, including accelerating fast and braking heavily to stop, can cost you 40% more fuel per trip.
4. Drive smoothly and observe the speed limit
Use cruise control, if you have it and remember the faster you go the greater your wind resistance. This often means you'll use disproportionately more fuel.
5. Engine brake
Release the accelerator early to slow down.
6. Minimise idling
Turn off the engine if you are stopping for more than 10 seconds, unless you are in traffic.
7. Warm up by driving
Modern vehicles need no more than 30 seconds to warm up in winter.
8. Inflate and align tyres
Properly inflated tyres make your engine’s job easier.
9. Take the rack off
Roof racks increase drag, so be sure to remove them when they're not needed.
10. Minimise air conditioning use in town
Flow-through ventilation or an open window around town can do the job a lot of the time. However, an open window on a longer trip can actually use more fuel than air conditioning due to increased wind-drag, so consider both factors before hitting the button.
Hybrids seamlessly switch between electricity and gas for fuel-efficient driving. In fact, Toyota hybrids can deliver a 30-40%* saving in running costs over a similar-sized petrol engine vehicle. Then there’s the incredibly aerodynamic exteriors, which provide a seamless flow of air around the vehicles to maximise fuel efficiency. It all adds up to the EECA giving Prius hybrids a rating of 5.5 stars out of 6 for energy efficiency – and the Camry Hybrid being rated 5 out of 6 stars.
*Fuel Consumption figures are tested under controlled conditions and are provided for comparison purposes, actual results will vary according to vehicle usage and operating conditions.