Owning a vehicle brings on-costs with it: auto insurance, maintenance, spare parts and worst of all, the gas/fuel bill. Unfortunately, for most of us, cars are a necessity as opposed to a luxury.

Shopping, the school run, work and a whole host of other day-to-day chores force us into our cars. Even more so if you choose to live in a rural community rather than an urban sprawl.

But - there are ways in which you can reduce your petrol bill.

How to Reduce Your Fuel Consumption

  1. Drive with safety in mind. Beside the fact that you should anyway - over accelerating and harsh breaking only go onto increase the amount of fuel that your vehicle will consume. So - steady and safe is the key.

  1. Don't drive with the windows down, unless you really have to. Once your speed is above 70/80 kph (40/50mph) your fuel bill can increase by around 30%. This is related to aerodynamics and the 'drag' that open windows cause.

  1. As annoying as it is for other drivers - don't match the speed limits. Going back to #1, a slow, steady drive will reduce your overall fuel bill. It may be boring; you may be slower in reaching your destination - but you will reach it. With more money in your pocket and in one piece!

  1. Avoid using the air-con, if you have it. As with #2, it can and does add upwards of around 8% to your overall fuel consumption - use the normal air vents or, if you really need to use it, close the windows, turn it on - reduce the inside temperature then switch it off. Use it sparingly.

  1. If you're sat waiting for someone - or something - turn the engine of. Leaving the engine 'ticking over' is a bad idea all round. For a start, it's not a very eco-friendly practice and second, it will only increase your fuel bill. So, when parked and waiting for someone - switch off the engine.

  1. Check out the trunk/boot space. If it's full of junk, remove it. Excess weight adds to the amount of fuel you use. Your car is built to carry people - not junk. Carrying home the family shopping etc is one thing - persistently driving around with a trunk full of homeless debris is just a further strain on your fuel bill.

  1. Maintain the correct psi for your tyres. It takes minutes to check and will keep the fuel costs down. For every 1% psi that you don't have in your tyres, your fuel bill will increase by 3%. So - check out your tyres.

  1. If you're driving around with a roof rack system that you rarely use (e.g. for vacations/holidays) then take it off and store it away. This goes back to aerodynamics and cause drag on the vehicle. If you don't need it - remove it.

Reducing Your Fuel Consumption

Reduce Fuel

None of the above is rocket science. But it is all common sense. I know I used to drive around with an amazing amount of useless junk in my trunk. And I wasn't great with tyre pressure either.

In the current economy, taking steps to reduce your petrol bill makes good, practical sense. And, if it did get really bad - there's always public transport!