John and Helen Taylor hold the world record for more than 40 fuel economy driving challenges. They therefore know a few things about saving a few bucks at the bowser. Currently, the pair are in the midst of a 19,000km road trip across Australia in an attempt to smash their car’s average fuel usage. Read on for their top five bowser hacks.
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The Taylors’ latest fuel-efficiency challenge began in Melbourne and will finish in Hobart later in the month. The trip is set to cover urban streets, open roads and country towns, with free workshops held in select destinations along the way. During the cross-country jaunt, they aim to use up to 15% less petrol than the manufacturers’ recommended L/100 km.
Before they set out, we asked John and Helen to share some petrol-saving hacks suitable for everyday motorists. Here’s their top five!
#1 Check Your Tyre Pressure
“The first tip and one of the most important things you can do is to keep your tyres at the right pressure. This can sometimes slip our minds, but correctly inflated tyres are safer and they last longer. A tyre that is under inflated by just 1psi can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 3%! An under or over inflated tyre is also more susceptible to failing.”
#2 Ease off the pedal
“To help save pocket cash, it’s absolutely key to take off gently. You should also try to drive smoothly and avoid unnecessary acceleration and breaking. This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of motorists who rarely put it into practice. For instance, a Caltex poll found that a third of Australians didn’t know how much they could save if they drove more efficiently over a 12 month period.”
#3 Lessen the load
“Another tactic that all Aussie drivers need to consider to reduce fuel consumption is to avoid carrying excess weight. Travel as light as possible as for every extra 45 kg you carry, your fuel efficiency can drop by 2%. It’s super important to keep your boot or back seat clear of unnecessary items that just add weight to your vehicle. Clean out your cars and only keep what you need.”
#4 Regular servicing
“One thing that we’ve found that many Aussies forget is the importance of correctly tuning your engine. It’s vital to tune and service your engine consistently and effectively. A well-tuned engine can improve fuel economy greatly, so change your oil and follow your car manufacturer’s recommendation on servicing.”
#5 Kill the engine
“According to the latest Caltex research, 82% of Aussies are unaware that standing still in a queue with the car running wastes fuel. Excess idling is huge waster of fuel! If you’re waiting in a queue (which is inevitable if you live in a city) or waiting to pick someone up, you need to turn the engine off until you need it. It’s as easy as that!”