Cut petrol costs by 25 percent

Cut petrol costs by 25 percent

Rising petrol prices have eaten into household budgets for millions of Australian drivers and research shows the cost of fuel is set to rise again in coming months.

Motorists may see petrol prices moving towards $1.70 a litre at peak times as the dollar weakens and global oil prices rise, experts suggest.

But there’s a very simple way to save money on petrol: slow down. A car speeding at 110km/h uses up to 25 percent more fuel than one cruising at 90km/h, according to the federal government’s Green Vehicle Guide.

However, you can drive at the same speed and still save on petrol by sticking to a few simple techniques, according to automotive engineer Anthony Sale of Powertrain.

“Stamping on the brakes and then accelerating hard is efficient driving’s worst enemy. An efficient driver is a smooth driver,” he said.

Eco-driving

The federal government’s Green Vehicle Guide recommends driving at a good distance from the car in front so you can anticipate traffic movements and minimise fuel use by avoiding sudden breaking and accelerating.

An engine runs most efficiently between 1500 and 2500 rpm (lower in diesels), according to the website.

“To maintain these low revs you should change up through the gears as soon as practical and before the revs reach 2500 rpm,” it said.

Automatic transmissions will shift up more quickly and smoothly if you ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car gathers momentum. Also, switching off the engine when stopped for an extended period of time and restarting when necessary uses less fuel than idling.

There are times when you can cut your fuel usage to zero: by cruising in gear as you slow down to a junction or roundabout. Many drivers occasionally put the car into neutral and let it coast as it slows, which is a no-no, according to Sale.

“Lifting off the throttle, rather than putting it in neutral, means you will use no fuel at all,” he said, adding that it is safer, too.

Before you drive

Remove excess clutter from your car and take off roof racks if they are not in use to reduce the weight of your car. The lighter your car is, the less fuel it will use.

Under-inflated tyres create more resistance when your car is moving, which means your engine has to work harder and so more fuel is used. Over time, tyres will naturally leak a bit of air. Checking them regularly and maintaining pressures can improve fuel consumption by up to 2 percent.

The car counts

Before you buy, you should consider a car’s fuel economy. All new light vehicles sold in Australia are required to display a Fuel Consumption Label on the front windscreen.

Green Vehicle Guide said the label is designed to help motorists make informed choices about the environmental impact of their new car and the cost of running their vehicle. Check out RateCity’s recent report about the cheapest new cars to run or use the federal government’s fuel calculator.

Shop around

As Australians feel hip-pocket pain with rising petrol prices, smart developers are launching online tools and mobile phone petrol price finders to help drivers save money.

Carsguide recently launched a free tool, which allows you to enter your fuel type and postcode to see a list of prices at service stations in your area, along with a map of where they are located. For smart phones with built in GPS, the site will find where you are and show you cheap petrol around you. To use the service, visit carsguide.mobi on your mobile.

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Learn more about car loans

What is dealer finance?

Dealer finance is a car loan organised through a car dealer – as opposed to car loans organised by a finance broker or directly by the lender.

What is proof of income?

Before giving you a car loan, lenders will ask for proof of income – documentary evidence that you earn as much as you claim you earn. Lenders will typically want some combination of tax returns, pay slips and bank statements. The reason lenders want proof of income is because they want to be sure you have the means to repay the car loan.

How much is your car worth?

If you already own a car, you could potentially bring down the cost by selling your car in the process. Before that happens, though, you’ll need to find out how much your car is worth.

One of the first places to find this value is to research the value of your current car, giving you an idea of roughly how much it’s worth in its peak condition.

There are plenty of websites that offer a free online valuation, allowing you to enter your car’s make, model, year, badge and description, with results listing a price guide based on both selling your car privately and through a dealership.

Of course, dealerships will try to profit on your trade-in by buying it for less than they can sell it, making it highly unlikely that you’ll get the same price selling a car to a dealer as you would selling a car privately.

However, private car sales can be costly and can take months to sell, making car trading more convenient with a guaranteed return, even if you may not be able to realise the total value of your car’s worth.

Remember that everything is negotiable. If the dealership is offering you less for your trade than you wanted, try to negotiate elsewhere to gain that money back. Start by negotiating on the price of the trade and then ask them if they can give you a further discount on your new car.

How much is my car worth?

If you own a car, it may be something that can help you bring down the cost of your next vehicle purchase through its sale. However, before you can do that you’ll want to find out how much your car is worth.

Your car’s worth can depend upon various aspects, including:

  • Age
  • Condition
  • Model and make

A great starting place for aspects of this includes websites that offer online valuations, allowing you to enter your car’s make, model, year, badge and description, with the listed results displaying a price guide based on both selling your car privately and through a dealership.

Both have pros and cons, as cars can be very profitable, something that will no doubt impact any chance you have to make the most of your car’s value upon sale. Dealerships will try to profit on your trade-in by buying it for less than they can sell it for, so you shouldn’t expect the same price selling a car to a dealer that you would necessarily get selling a car privately.

What is the luxury car tax?

The federal government imposes a luxury car tax of 33 per cent on the value of a car above a threshold. As of the 2017-18 financial year, that threshold was $75,526 for fuel-efficient vehicles and $65,094 for other vehicles. So a fuel-efficient car worth $80,000 would be taxed only on the difference between the threshold and the value of the car ($4,474), rather than taxed on the entire $80,000. Similarly, an ordinary car worth $70,000 would be taxed on the $4,906 above the threshold, rather than the entire $70,000. The luxury car tax is paid by dealers that sell or import luxury cars, and also by individuals who import luxury cars.

What is a dealership?

A dealership is a car yard or a place where cars are sold.

What is a car loan?

A car loan, also known as vehicle finance, is money that a consumer borrows with the express purpose of buying a vehicle, such as a car, motorbike, van, truck or campervan. Car loans can be used for both new and used vehicles.

Should I service my own car?

There are also costs associated with vehicle ownership, such as paying for petrol and the obligatory ongoing maintenance. But should you cut down on costs by servicing your own vehicle?

If you’re considering getting out the tool box, spanner, and grease-laden towel, you need to carefully weigh up the risks and benefits. A trained mechanic will need to complete certain tasks, while you may be perfectly capable to handle other aspects yourself.

If you’re short on time, it may be worth paying for the convenience of a full vehicle service. However if you’re trying to slash your expenses, there are some basic maintenance tasks that you can complete yourself.

You should call a mechanic if you’re unsure about a vehicle maintenance task you’re about to take on. However there are a number of maintenance tasks that you may be able to complete with your own two hands including:

  • Replacing your car battery
  • Changing the oil
  • Replacing worn windscreen wipers
  • Replacing blown fuses

Remember to keep your car’s body in good condition, by washing and applying a protective wax on a regular basis, too.

Always check your car warranty agreement as some new car purchases come with an extended car warranty provided your services are conducted at the vehicle service centre where you purchased the car. In these circumstances, you may find the service fee is capped, alleviating some of the maintenance woes.

Can I buy a car as a student?

Buying a car is a huge financial decision, and shy of marriage and purchasing a house (or perhaps around the world travels), it may be the biggest financial decision you make. But if you’re looking at your empty pockets, don’t despair! Your dream of owning your own car could become a reality, if you look for and compare the right car loans for your circumstances.

What is vehicle finance?

Vehicle finance, also known as a car loan, is money that a consumer borrows with the express purpose of buying a vehicle, such as a car, motorbike, van, truck or campervan. Vehicle finance can be used for both new and used vehicles.

What is an operating lease?

An operating lease is an arrangement by which a company leases a car from a vehicle fleet supplier for a set period. It’s a bit like a long-term car rental in that the company gains access to the car but the supplier retains ownership. Companies like operating leases because they are tax-deductible and because they save the company from having to make a large upfront payment to buy a car.

What is a secured car loan?

A secured car loan is a loan that is connected to a form of security, or collateral. Generally, the security for a car loan is the car itself. If you fail to repay the loan, the lender might seize your car, sell it and then use the proceeds to recover their debt.

How do you get a car loan?

There are four different ways you can get a car loan. You can go straight to a lender. You can get a finance broker to organise a car loan for you. You can get ‘dealer finance’ – which is when the car dealer organises a car loan for you. Or you can organise your own car loan through a comparison website, like RateCity.

Whichever method you choose, you will need to provide proof of identification, proof of income and proof of savings. So you may be asked for any combination of passport, driver’s licence, bank statements, payslips, tax returns and utility bills. You might also be asked to provide proof of insurance.

How much can I get towards a new car as a single parent?

It really depends on your financial circumstances as to how much a lender will grant you towards a new car as a single parent. With most lenders, the smaller the loan you apply for, the higher your chances are of approval, so getting a cheaper car or adding some savings of your own, may be a valid option if you are struggling for approval on a car loan.