Expert advice on how to make your fuel tank last longer during high gas prices

The federal government’s announcement of a fuel excise halving is undoubtedly music to many people’s ears.

Following the release of the federal budget last week, the excise duty was cut in half, from 44.2 cents per liter to 22.1 cents.

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This should provide some respite from the high gasoline and diesel prices driven by Russia’s war on Ukraine.

However, the cut should only last six months.

And Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said it will take up to two weeks before fuel prices get cheaper (and potentially longer in regional areas).

The costs

Assuming it costs $2 per liter of gasoline and diesel fuel, and an average fuel consumption of about 11 liters per 100 kilometers traveled, driving a typical fossil fuel passenger vehicle would currently cost about $20 to $25 cents per kilometer.

You are probably very happy if you own an electric vehicle.

With actual electricity consumption of 0.15 to 0.21 kWh per kilometer and electricity costs of around 20 to 30 cents per kWh, your driving cost per kilometer is around 3 to 6 cents.

And if you can charge your vehicle’s battery for free with home solar panels, your cost per kilometer is $0.

But for those of us who don’t own an electric vehicle, getting the most out of our fuel tanks will be a priority.

Relief at the gas pump is on the way for millions of motorists. Credit: Getty Images

The competition watchdog has been tasked with monitoring retailers to ensure that oil companies do not take advantage of the situation once the relief at the gas pump takes effect.

And he says he will apply the full weight of the law to those who don’t do the right thing.

“If retailers make false or misleading representations to consumers that they have passed on the savings when they have not, the ACCC will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action,” the statement said. ACCC President, Gina Cass-Gottlieb.

The government estimates that an average household with a vehicle will save about $300.

But until pump prices start to drop, here are a few ways to make your vehicle go the extra mile.

Use a smaller, lighter car

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your fuel consumption.

The most obvious is not to use your car, but to walk or ride your bike, if possible.

If you must drive, try to minimize the total distance traveled. One way would be to combine a number of errands into your trip and optimize your itinerary.

The specific vehicle you use is also important. As a general rule, the bigger and heavier your car, the more energy and fuel it will need per mile.

Using a smaller car can help reduce gas costs.
Using a smaller car can help reduce gas costs. Credit: DIEGO FEDELE/AAPIMAGE

Choosing a smaller car, rather than a large SUV, will definitely lower your fuel bill. A large SUV will consume almost twice as much fuel per kilometer as a small car.

Research also suggests that for every 100 kg increase in vehicle weight, fuel consumption increases by around 5% to 7% for an average size car.

So, in addition to driving a smaller car, it’s best to reduce your load and avoid riding with extra weight.

Use eco-driving techniques

The way you drive is also important.

Eco-driving involves being aware of your fuel consumption and taking steps to reduce it. There are different ways to do this.

Each time you brake and come to a stop, you have to accelerate again to reach the desired speed.

Acceleration consumes a lot of energy and fuel. Therefore, driving smoothly, anticipating traffic and avoiding stops will save money on your fuel bill.

What you want to do is follow traffic and keep your distance from other vehicles.

It also helps keep your eye further down the road, helping you avoid obstacles and therefore unnecessary braking and acceleration.

If you are among the minority of people who own a manual vehicle, drive at the highest speed possible to reduce engine load and fuel consumption.

And if you’re in an automatic vehicle, use the “eco” setting if you have one.

Give your engine and climate a break

Another simple tip is to stop unnecessary idling with the engine still engaged.

A small car typically consumes one liter of fuel per hour when idling, while a large SUV is close to two liters per hour.

Of course, we regularly slow down while waiting in traffic and usually can’t do much about it other than try to drive during off-peak hours when the roads are less congested.

In other cases, we can change things. For example, idling when a vehicle is parked will consume fuel unnecessarily.

Switch off the alternating current

Most people may not realize it, but using your air conditioner can consume a lot of extra fuel: between 4% and 8% of total fuel consumption.

Using the fan instead will require less energy than air conditioning.

Or even better, roll down the windows a bit to breathe in the fresh air when driving around town.

Maintain your tires and think about aerodynamics

It also pays to keep your tires inflated, which can save you between 2-4% fuel.

Additionally, your car is designed to be aerodynamically efficient.

Anything that changes this, including roof racks, bull bars and bike racks, will incur an additional fuel penalty, especially at higher speeds, such as on the highway.

This article first appeared on The Conversation.

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