A significant operating expense for any car is the fuel, whether that be gasoline or petrol. You can significantly reduce your spending if you track and minimise the cost of fuelling your vehicle. Below are 28 helpful tips to help you go a long way in saving on fuel costs: 1. View the vehicle manual to learn your car’s preferred octane level Most car owners are advised to use the regular octane level. There is very little benefit to your vehicle if you use a higher octane level than the one that is approved and recommended by the manufacturer. High octane level fuel is usually more expensive, and therefore you should use the one that is approved by the car’s manual. 2. Shop around for cheap petrol deals Use phone apps and websites to help you find the cheapest petrol stations in your area. Some petrol stations have special offers during the weekends, and it can be easier to find them using the internet. 3. Use a credit card with cash back offers for petrol purchases Always fuel your car using a credit card that has cash back for petrol purchases. Some cards will give you as much as a 2 to 5% rebate on fuel purchase. Make sure you read the fine print to understand the cards fees, interest rates, charges and terms. 4. Drive when you start the engine Modern cars do not need time to warm up to achieve the optimal temperature for operation. You will be wasting fuel by idling to let the car warm up. 5. Don’t speed The higher the speed you’re driving at, the higher the wind drag and therefore the higher the fuel consumption. Fueleconomy.gov recommends that you drive at a speed below 60 miles per hour to have the best fuel efficiency. 6. Avoid unnecessary idling Idling not only wastes fuel but also pollutes the air. If you are anticipating a long wait, switch off the engine. 7. Use overdrive gears and cruise control When driving on a highway, i’s advisable to use the overdrive and cruise control gears that come with automatic transmission cars. They assist with fuel economy. 8. Minimise braking by anticipating traffic conditions Most modern roads are carefully marked so that drivers can anticipate slowdowns, red lights, bends and turns. Ensure that you slow down before you reach the stop point so that you don’t hard brake. 9. Avoid hard starts and stops You can increase your fuel efficiency and prolong the life of your car’s brakes by avoiding hard starts and stops. 10. Use the air conditioner only when necessary You can save on fuel by using the air conditioning only when it is needed. Most modern air conditioners in the car come with an economy setting that will allow you to circulate chilled air. You can use the economy setting to be more fuel efficient. Or set to auto. 11. Combine your errands By combining your errands in one drive, you’ll save on fuel. It has been noted that if you drive for a few errands when the engine is warm, you can use twice as little fuel as you would use when the engine is cold. 12. Don’t haul excess weight All vehicles come with the manufacturer’s recommended payload. An extra 45 kilograms (100 pounds) of weight in the trunk can decrease the car’s fuel economy by 2%. 13. Avoid carrying luggage on the roof Any luggage that you place on the car roof can create additional wind resistance which, in turn, decreases your car’s fuel efficiency by up to 5%. 14. Have the engine tuned By tuning your car’s engine according to the owner’s manual, you can increase your car’s mileage per gallon by an average of 4%. Credit: Skitter Photo 15. Keep the tires inflated and correctly aligned By keeping your tires correctly inflated and aligned, you will increase the life of the tires as well as improve handling and mileage per gallon by up to 3%. The owner’s manual will have the recommended tire inflation pressure. Remember that tire pressure decreases when it’s cold and increases when the tires heat up after they have been on the road for quite some time. 16. Change the oil regularly According to the U.S.A Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency, you can improve your car’s mileage by ensuring that you change the motor oil on a regular schedule, as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. 17. Buy petrol at off-peak hours Petrol is cooler and denser during the earlier parts of the day, especially during warm months. As the temperature rises during the day, the density falls, and you will end up gaining less from the pump. Prices of petrol rise between Wednesday and Thursday and therefore it is more advisable to buy your car’s petrol early in the week. 18. Drive steadily Try to keep below the speed limit and operate more smoothly to get the most out of your fuel. 19. Turn off the engine when not in use Stuck in traffic, or waiting at a railroad crossing, or waiting for somebody to join you in the car? It’s advisable to turn off the engine to stop wastage from idling. Idling is a significant contributor to the pollution in the environment. 20. Reduce luggage drag Remove the ski rack, luggage rack, bicycle rack, and any other luggage that you might have on your roof. This improve your vehicle’s aerodynamic performance which results in better fuel efficiency. 21. Avoid petrol stations on the highway Due to their convenience, petrol stations on the highway can be pricier than local counterparts. If you plan to refuel your car, go to the nearest town to find a cheaper petrol station. 22. Fill up the tank when it a quarter full When you wait until your tank is empty to refuel, you will have to pay for the petrol that is nearest despite its high price. To get the best deal, fill up your tank when it’s a quarter full. 23. Change engine filters regularly To help your car run more efficiently, check your filters regularly especially if you drive in a dusty area. Get help to clean the filter to have better fuel efficiency. 24. Use manufacturer recommended oil All vehicles come with a manual that contains to the manufacturer’s recommended motor oil. If you do not have the manual, search online for the best oil to use on your car model. Using the wrong oil will cause the engine to work harder and hence waste more petrol. 25. Choose the route with fewest stops The shortest route is not always the most fuel-efficient route. Plan to take the route with the fewest stops and traffic lights so that you don’t need to brake and accelerate frequently. 26. Take advantage of state line for different tax rates Just by crossing to another state where the tax rate is different, you can save a lot of money on fuel. If you are on a road trip, research which states have the best tax rates for fuel so that you can fill up your tank in that state. 27. Buy a fuel efficient car Many hybrid vehicles are fuel efficient. If you’re looking to save a lot of money on petrol, buy cars that can get you as much as 40 miles per gallon. 28. Use GOFAR Use a smart technology device such as GOFAR to track and log your mileage. GOFAR helps you to find your car engine’s sweet spot and then guides you to drive efficiently.