How To Save Fuel During Your Big Lap

by Rose Foster

Whether you’ve begun your adventure around Australia or not, you’ll likely already know that fuel is going to be one of your biggest expenses. In fact, Aussie travellers report spending up to $600 per month on diesel and petrol so factoring it into your budget is wise indeed.

That said, just because this expensive is likely to tug at your purse-strings the most, it doesn’t mean that you have to be at the mercy of Fuel Gods; you can take things into your own hands and reduce your fuel bill while travelling the country. Here are a few tips that will see you save a few fuel dollars on your Big Lap

1. Think About Your Set-Up

Once you’re out and on the road, it’s a little difficult to think about how your car and caravan affect your Big Lap fuel consumption. It really is something that you need to consider before starting out on your travels.

Among all of the considerations you will have when it comes to selecting that right set-up for you (see our blog on picking the right car and van for your needs here), thinking about fuel consumption may be high on your list. Certain cars are more fuel-efficient than others so after you’ve narrowed down your search, check the average fuel consumption of your chosen car.

But don’t just look at the basics, you need to know about the fuel consumption of your car when towing the caravan you’ve chosen too; some cars perform more poorly than others when towing. Some cars perform fine until they begin towing in excess of a certain weight, so it’s important to cover all basis and think about your personal scenario to get an accurate view of the amount of fuel your set up will use.

As a general rule though, manual transmissions will out-perform automatics and diesels have a better fuel-economy than petrols.

2. Drive Sensibly

It probably won’t shock you to hear that driving sensibly will ensure a greater fuel efficiency.  The Energy Saving Trust claims that between 90 and 100km/h is the optimal speed for maximum fuel efficiency, but depending upon your set up and taking into consideration what you’re towing, the ideal speed for you could vary. 

In addition to keeping a steady speed, you should also go easy on the accelerator. You can save up to 20% in fuel if you take off slowly, and don’t press the pedal to the metal unnecessarily!

3. Think About When You Fill Up

It is widely believed that the best days to buy fuel are Tuesdays and Sunday, due to the fact that prices at the pump are (allegedly) lower. Conversely, Thursdays and Fridays are considered the worst days to fill up. That said, prices fluctuate each week meaning there is no clear-cut weekly refueling schedule that you can adopt.

So, how do you figure out when to fill up? Well, the ACCC monitors fuel prices on a weekly basis, updating its petrol price cycles page several times per week. While it only shows fuel prices in Australian capital cities, you can still use it to get a good idea of the cheapest and most expensive days of the week where you are.

4. Think About Where You Fill Up

Where you fill up on your Big Lap might be the most important factor in saving you money on fuel whilst you’re travelling. If you’re travelling through remote areas, sometimes there is not much you can do about filling up, but it is important to understand that your location could affect your fuel budget.

5. Take Care of Your Tires

Your tires can affect your fuel economy more than you might think. Tyre condition accounts for 20-30% of a vehicle’s fuel efficiency, so it’s worth considering them in your fuel-saving equation!

When purchasing your tyres, consider buying the fuel efficient option. They may cost you slightly more in the first instance but the savings you’ll make in the long run will mean the tyres more than pay for yourself.

Next, make sure your tyres are properly maintained and at the recommended pressure. Uneven wear can greatly affect fuel efficiency so it’s vital you check your tyres regularly and schedule rotations when needed.

6. Car Maintenance

How many times have you let your car’s next service come and go without booking your vehicle in for it’s much-needed check up? Well, if you want to save on fuel (and keep running smoothly on your Big Lap), you must keep on to of your servicing. Depending on the state of your car, a good tune-up can improve your fuel efficiency by between 9% and 40%.

7. Get A Jerry Can

Getting a Jerry Can can save you big time when it comes to fuel. If you do come across a really expensive fuel stop, simply use your Jerry Can to get you to the next spot. Conversely, when you find cheap fuel, make the most of it and fill up your tank and your Can.

8. Fuel Vouchers

Coles, Woolworths and Cosco offer discounts on fuel when you purchase from their stores. You’ll undoubtedly shop at one of these (probably multiple times) during your trip, so take advantage of the discounts you receive as a result.

  • Coles fuel discount: 4 to 10 cent discount per litre (more info)
  • Woolworths fuel discount: 4 cent discount per litre (more info)
  • Costco fuel discount: low priced petrol year-round (more info)

9. Get A Petrol Price App

 The Petrol Spy App is a great way to find out the prices of fuels in the locations that you’re heading to. So, make sure you check before you go!



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