This weekend when I filled up my car with petrol I set a new family record – this is the first time we have exceeded $100 for a tank of gas, and this was just to fill up an ordinary family car with regular.

If petrol costs in NZ are started to impact on your family finance for other essentials, such as food or housing, then you might like to consider some of our fuel-saving tips and strategies below:

Easier, low cost driving tips

  • Ensure that your car is kept well tuned and serviced to increase fuel efficiency.
  • Keep tires inflated to their recommended level.
  • Remove any heavy objects from your car when not required – roof racks, bike racks and ski racks all increase fuel usage. Similarly, drag from roof racks or open windows will reduce fuel efficiency.
  • Stop using the air conditioning in your car – it uses around 10% more petrol.
  • Accelerate gently, travel at no more than 90 km/hour on motorways, and turn your engine off if you are going to idle for more than 30 seconds.
  • Check petrol price variations in your region at www.pricewatch.co.nz in order to find the cheapest prices.
  • Make use of shopper docket discounts at your supermarket – a saving of 4 cents – 30 cents per litre adds up over a year.
  • Plan your weekly journeys carefully so that you group errands together.
  • Carpool with friends, family and neighbours wherever possible.
  • Walk, bike, or take public transport – this will be good for your health as well as your budget!

Medium measures

  • Sell your car and buy a smaller one.
  • Sell your second car, and run only one family car.
  • Sell your car and buy a motorbike or scooter.
  • Sell your car and don’t replace it.

More expensive measures

  • Sell your car and buy a hybrid one for about $13,000 – a hybrid car uses both petrol and a second battery which recharges as you are driving along. It reduces your fuel costs and is good for the environment.
  • With diesel prices at around 87% of regular petrol, buy a newer fuel efficient diesel car, but also factor in Road User Charges.
  • Switch to LPG or trade in your car for one with LPG already installed. It costs about $5,000 to convert to LPG, but you may be able to get an interest free loan from one of the gas companies.
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