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27.05.2008How to stop fuel costs guzzling your cash



There are also oil companies’ wholesale margins and retail profit margins to consider. And in a free market the companies are at liberty to charge whatever they want.

The NRMA in NSW and ACT welcome the appointment of the Petrol Commissioner but have called for immediate increases to his powers to be able to order oil companies to adjust their prices if they are too high and issue fines if oil companies do not comply.

Meanwhile, online communities such as motormouth.com.au list fuel prices in capital and regional cities and the leading motoring associations in each state publish some details on their sites. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission tracks data for consumers about the fuel cycle.

If all of this seems beyond your control there are some basic things you can do to reduce your fuel costs.

  • Assess fuel consumption before buying any vehicle;
  • Ensure tyres are pumped to the right level; tyres that are low on air pressure have greater rolling resistance.
  • Drive smoothly, and maintain a steady speed.
  • Change up through the gears as soon as practical.
  • In automatics ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car has gained sufficient speed and the gearbox will shift up more quickly.
  • Avoid peak hour and heavy traffic.
  • Avoid engine idling for long periods.
  • Travel at 90 km/h rather than 110 km/h to reduce fuel up to 25%
  • Use cruise control if highway driving.
  • Use air conditioners sparingly
  • Keep the windows up and use the ventilation system when travelling faster than 50 km/h.

Marian Edmunds is a freelance journalist, and a former staff journalist on the Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business and finance newspapers.

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