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Fuel efficient driving

Short trips use 20% more fuel when your engine is cold

The way you drive affects the amount of fuel your vehicle uses. Here we have some tips and links to help you improve the fuel efficiency of your driving.

Why drive to conserve fuel?

The less fuel you use, the more money you save. It's also good for the planet - transport accounts for around 44% of New Zealand's energy use (with cars and other passenger vehicles accounting for over half of that). Transport also accounts for 40% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Tips to reduce fuel use and emissions

  • drive smoothly, avoiding fast acceleration and sharp braking
  • avoid over-revving by changing up gears
  • reduce short trips (you use 20% more fuel when your engine is cold)
  • reduce your speed (driving over the speed limit can increase fuel consumption by 10%)
  • don't leave your vehicle idling for long periods
  • avoid carrying unnecessary loads
  • use your air conditioning wisely (using your air conditioning can increase fuel use by 10%)
  • choose a vehicle that's the right size for your needs
  • consider using biofuels where possible

Learn more about biofuels on the EECA website (external link)

Choosing a more fuel-efficient vehicle

Choosing a more fuel-efficient vehicle will help you save money and reduce your CO2 emissions.

Use the Rightcar website (external link) to see which vehicles rate better.

Learn which safety and other features (external link) to look for when purchasing your next vehicle.

How does your vehicle rate?

Compare your vehicle fuel economy on the energywise website (external link) to find out how much you spend on fuel, for more information on bio fuels, and
how much you can save.

Keeping your vehicle well maintained

Basic maintenance will cut your vehicle's fuel use as well as reduce the pollutants it produces, such as: 

  • making sure your vehicle is well-tuned
  • keeping tyres correctly inflated (external link)
  • keeping lights and brakes in good working order 
  • consider removing roof racks and poorly placed spoilers - these increase air resistance and, therefore, fuel consumption.

Also, keeping your vehicle's safety features (external link) well maintained, as they may not be included in regular vehicle checks.

Choosing other ways to travel

Combining driving with other forms of transport during one trip is another way to reduce your fuel use. And using other forms of transport can be a smart way to avoid congestion. Consider:

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