Fuel economy indicates the distance a vehicle can travel on a certain amount of fuel, and is measured in litres per 100 km or in kilometres per litre in Australia. The more fuel you need to put into your car, the more your vehicle is going to cost you to run.
The fuel economy of a vehicle is impacted by a number of design considerations, such as size, shape, engine type. It is important to think carefully about fuel economy when buying a car – some cars will be more efficient than others. When you compare cars with different fuel economies, it is important to understand that the car with the better fuel economy will use less fuel to travel the same distance, having a lower impact on your wallet as well as the environment. Cars with good fuel economy are often referred to as “green” or environmentally friendly. Smaller vehicles and hybrid vehicles have better fuel economy than larger vehicles such as four-wheel drives. The more powerful the engine, the less the fuel economy, generally speaking. The Green Vehicle Guide rates all new Australian passenger, four-wheel drive and light commercial vehicles based on fuel consumption, and greenhouse and air pollution emissions. It also includes data on all models sold from 2004 onwards.
Apart from choosing a car with good fuel economy, there are some things that you can do to reduce your car’s fuel consumption.
- Don’t accelerate or brake excessively.
- Choose the right gear, and drive smoothly – stop/start driving kills your fuel economy.
- If you own a four-wheel drive leave your car in 2WD (most 4WDs offer you this option) to increase your fuel efficiency when you are driving on normal road surfaces
- Avoid driving in peak hour or on congested roads.
- Watch your speed; your vehicle’s fuel efficiency decreases dramatically at higher speeds (you may use up to 25% more fuel at 110 km/h than at 90km/h).
- Maintain your vehicle- have your vehicle serviced regularly according to the manufactirer’s guidelines. Check tyre pressure, as incorrect tyre pressure may reduce your vehicle’s efficiency by up to 3% and may also reduce the life of the tyre by 10%.
- An extra 40kgs in your car could reduce your fuel efficiency by 1%. Remove any items fron your car that are not necessary for your journey.
- Limit the use of your vehicle’s air conditioning system. Air conditioning can have a huge impact on your fuel economy. Try to keep your car cooler to begin with, so choose a car with a light paint colour, park in shady spots, crack the windows slightly while parked and before driving on hot days to let the hot air escape and use a windshield screen wherever possible.
- Minimise drag. Try not to drive with open windows, or with roof racks or rooftop storage unless you have to, as this can reduce your fuel efficiency by up to 20 percent.
- Use the right fuel. Follow your car manufacturer’s recommendation.