Travel Tips

12 easy ways to save on petrol

12 easy ways to save on petrol

The average price of petrol skyrocketed around the world after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The financial impact of filling up at the bowser could get worse before it gets better. So, we’re here to help you get the most for your money. The tips below will show you how to find cheap petrol, how to get better petrol mileage, and petrol apps and credit cards to use in the process. Ready for big-time savings?

1. Plan the best route

Getting from point A to point B quickly sounds like the best way to save petrol. After all, shorter distances mean less time on the road and less fuel used, right? Well, not exactly. It’s more important to take the route that helps you avoid traffic, construction and congestion. Yes, it may seem counterintuitive to drive further to save petrol money, but some longer routes may actually be more fuel efficient, says Kyle Tetz, a former Honda employee, van life and travel expert, and founder of travel website The Next Trip.

Travelling on a highway can lower your petrol mileage by 15 to 30 per cent, while stop-and-go traffic can cut it by 10 to 40 per cent. With that in mind, here’s how to save money on petrol. Plot a route ahead of time, using a map app or Google Maps to pick roads where you can maintain a steady speed and avoid traffic or city traffic lights. You can then use the mileage to calculate petrol costs for your trip. As a bonus, you’ll also suffer less brake wear and road rage.

2. Properly inflate your tires

Proper inflation of all four tyres is the key to maximising petrol mileage, says Rick Cornilie, senior product merchandising manager and resident tyre and auto expert. He adds that while engine efficiency is essential for getting better kilometres per litre when driving, your tyres need to be properly and optimally inflated in order to maximise the engine’s potential. Under-inflated tyres will deliver poor petrol mileage and lead to more trips to the pump, which will cost you a lot of extra money throughout the year.

3. Remove excess weight from the car

The heavier your car is, the less fuel efficient it will become, says Lauren Fix of the Car Coach Reports website. If you’re looking for a super-simple solution when researching how to save petrol and get more kilometres per litre, start by removing unnecessary objects from your car. But don’t stop there. Avoid hauling bulky items on the roof as well. You’ll increase your vehicle’s aerodynamics and help keep your car as fuel-efficient as possible, Fix says.

4. Stop warming up your car

We get it: when mornings are chilly, slipping into a toasty front seat is borderline divine. But your fuel economy is going to suffer, and you’ll find yourself at the pump sooner if you keep warming up your car. Modern cars don’t need anything more than a minute to ‘wake up’. Letting your car warm up any more than that is unnecessary. With petrol prices rising, the warmth will ultimately leave you cold as you spend extra money at the pump.

5. Use ride share and public transport

In recent years, using rideshare services to get around has been a great way to save money on petrol. After all, if you aren’t paying to fill up a petrol tank, you aren’t spending any money at all at the pump. Though this perk is changing slightly, it doesn’t mean rideshares are automatically too expensive. Depending on your commute and your needs, ditching your car for a rideshare could be the answer to how to save money on petrol in 2022.

You can certainly bike and carpool around town, but public transport continues to be an affordable, safe and reliable way to get to most destinations in cities and towns across the country. And there’s no need to learn how to save money on petrol when you don’t use the stuff. Nix your petrol needs by taking buses, trains, trams and metros to and from work and nights out. Going sans car may seem inconvenient at first, but the money you’ll save by not paying to fill up may change your attitude towards public transport.

6. Minimise AC use

If you’re driving during the summer, consider being more judicious with how and when you blast the AC. Turning off the air-conditioner while in stop-and-go traffic or moving at slower speeds can increase fuel efficiency and help save you money. So get in the habit of rolling down the windows, turning up the music, and basking in the glow of knowing how to save money on petrol while idling in city traffic.

7. Keep windows up on the highway

Putting the windows down and turning off the air-conditioner is a trick best performed in traffic. When you’re on the highway, using the AC is your best bet for cooling. The wind may feel great coursing through your hair on a summer road trip, but wind resistance can create aerodynamic drag and cause your vehicle to use more energy. And when your car uses more energy, you end up at the fuel pump paying the high petrol prices more often.

8. Maintain steady speed

Believe it or not, you’ll learn how to save petrol when you learn how to drive better. (Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you take your driver’s test again.) You get better kilometres per litre performance when you maintain a consistent speed while driving. Over time, this will make your vehicle more fuel efficient. And you know what that means: you can spend less money on fuel.

9. Don't drive aggressively

When it comes to getting better petrol mileage, you can save money and reduce stress at the same time by driving with less aggression. Accelerating hard at green lights and braking at the last minute when a stoplight turns red isn’t just poor driver etiquette, it’s also a terrible waste of petrol. Aggressive driving habits like these make your vehicle less fuel efficient and ultimately cost you extra money at the petrol pump. Instead, drive calmly, steadily and safely. Doing so will reduce stress in you and the drivers around you, and it’ll increase your fuel economy by as much as 33 percent at highway speeds.

10. Opt for regular petrol

Unless your vehicle requires it, only fill up with regular petrol, not premium or diesel. According to car-buying site True Car, there is no reason to pay good money for something you don’t need, with experts noting that in most cases, using a higher-octane petrololine than your owner’s manual recommends offers no benefit. It won’t make your car perform better, go faster, get better mileage or run cleaner.

11. Use a credit card that rewards filling up with fuel

All but a small fraction of drivers use credit cards at the pump. That’s a good thing. Cash doesn’t offer a single reward perk. Credit cards do. But be sure you’re using a card that provides the most perks at the pump. Many of the best petrol credit cards offer valuable rewards, such as cash back, travel miles and extra points to entice you into swiping the card at the petrol station.

12. know the best days to buy petrol

You might assume Monday is an expensive day to buy petrol, what with commuters hitting the road again after the weekend. Yet in some countries it is the best day to fill up. To find out if there is a pattern for the cheapest day to fill up near where you live, put ‘best day to fill up petrol’ and your area in a search engine.

This article originally appeared on Reader's Digest.

Image: Getty

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