Charles Low, from Professional Driving Consultancy in Lismore, says that driving smoothly and planning your day will help you save money at the petrol bowser.
Charles Low, from Professional Driving Consultancy in Lismore, says that driving smoothly and planning your day will help you save money at the petrol bowser. The Northern Star

Cruise and save bucks at the petrol bowser

RELAX - it's good for the soul and will save you money at the petrol bowser.

That's the advice of Charles Low, of Lismore, who has been a driving instructor for 20 years.

Mr Low spends a lot of time in cars. He estimates he does about 500 kilometres a week as a driving instructor, and also works as a taxi driver as well.

"The most important thing is to drive as smooth as possible. Be chilled, cruisy, mellow," he said.

Aggressive driving with quick starts and hard stops could increase fuel consumption by up to 37 per cent, according to figures released by the Office of Energy Efficiency in Canada.

"The second thing is to plan your day and minimise the distance you travel," Mr Low said.

"Allow enough time and you will have a sense of relaxation and are less likely to experience or respond to road rage. Allowing for interruptions such as roadworks will reduce the temptation to speed."

Mr Low said increasing your cruising speed from 100km/h to 120km/h, apart from breaking the law, also increased fuel consumption by about 20 per cent.

Having your tyres properly inflated would save you fuel as well, he said. This was backed up by research that showed having just one tyre under-inflated by 8psi could increase fuel consumption by four per cent.

Mr Low's final tip was a plea for everybody to start indicating as they approached a roundabout if they were turning.

"It will increase the flow of traffic and reduce all the unnecessary stopping and accelerating," he said.

"There is an emphasis in the driving test now on over-the-shoulder checking when you move out of a lane. Not only does it help you relax the muscles in your neck, you will be seen by other drivers during the day. The essence of all driving is communication."

Mr Low said these few tips would help people relax as they drove and ultimately reduce their petrol consumption, too.

"It's a little contribution to reducing greenhouse gases that an individual can make, like turning off a light bulb in the house at night," he said.

"What you do in driving affects what you do in life. How on earth can we be safe unless we are first comfortable?"

Another tip for reducing your fuel consumption was reducing the use of the car air-conditioner. Using an air-conditioner in stop-and-go traffic could increase fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent. Try opening the window or vents to cool the car instead.

If your car has cruise control, use it on flat, open highways. Maintaining an even speed will increase fuel efficiency. Maintain your vehicle properly; a poorly-maintained car runs less efficiently, produces higher emissions and will require more expensive repairs.

Avoid prolonged engine warm-ups. Even on cold mornings, 30 to 45 seconds is enough.


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