We have two cars. Relatively small, new, fuel efficient cars. We try to avoid driving wherever possible, by walking to school and the shops or by combining several trips into one (this also saves us time).
I’ve never really bothered about the cost of fuel before. I know people who check pump prices and know the cheapest petrol station near their home and work place and calculate miles per gallon and…..yawn. To me it was just a necessary evil with limited opportunity for mass savings.
But now I’m on my frugal mission, I’m a dedicated fuel price watcher. This is pretty easy to do where I live as the nightly news has a regular feature on fuel prices, listing the cheapest fuel stations in each suburb. This information is also published in the daily newspaper. Obviously we don’t actually buy the newspaper – that would cost money, duh! – but it got me wondering how else I could access the information. A quick Google search and I found this: http://www.fuelwatch.wa.gov.au.
I realise this won’t apply to anyone who doesn’t live in Perth, Western Australia, but have a look for a local one, you never know!!
The fuel watch site allows me to search for fuel prices in any location in the metro area and subscribe to updates on prices in and around my suburb. Which led to me finding a nearby station selling unleaded fuel for this:
Instead of this:
Same fuel company, same distance from my house (but in opposite directions). Over 32c a litre cheaper. Crazy.
I’m a member of a motoring association (RACWA) as I get insurance and breakdown cover through them. They provide a membership card which allows me to save 4c a litre at selected stations (thankfully the two nearest my house). As these stations are linked to a supermarket chain I also gain points which can be used to purchase, among other things, groceries. Using the membership and points cards is an easy way to save money – as long as the fuel stations are selling the cheapest fuel (thankfully they often are). Going out of my way, driving a great distance or paying more just to gain the points is not frugal.
I’ve also been thinking back to my sustainably days and have come up with a list of driving techniques to save fuel. Most of them I do anyway – they not only save fuel but are a safe way to drive – and it’s given me a great reminder of what I should be doing.
- Plan journeys to avoid congestion, road works and getting lost.
- Remove roof racks, boxes and items from the car and boot.
- Drive at, or just below, the speed limit.
- Drive smoothly and read the road ahead to avoid sharp acceleration and heavy breaking.
- Check your revs and change up a gear before 2,500rpm for a petrol vehicle.
- Step off the accelerator, but remain in gear, as early as possible when approaching a red light or roundabout.
- Avoid using the air conditioner.
- Turn off instead of idling.
- Service your car and check the engine oil and tyre pressure regularly. Keep them at the recommended level.