Economical driving tips

Economical driving tips for New Zealand roads


Individually each of these economical driving tips won’t make a great deal of difference to how much you spend on your car and on fuel, but cumulatively they should produce a noticeable effect.

Use your car less

It’s stating the obvious but how about:

  • Car pooling with friends, family or work colleagues. Some places offer better parking spots for people that car pool.
  • Traveling outside of peak travel times so you spend less time stuck in traffic crawling along or queuing as you still burn through fuel even if you’re sitting still with your engine idling.
  • Walking, cycling or taking the bus instead – walking and cycling are good for your health, and sometimes the bus can also be significantly quicker than taking your own car.
  • Plan your route so you don’t waste fuel and time driving around trying to find the place you’re going to. Use a gps so you can take the most direct route.

Find out the fuel economy rating of a car before you buy it

Newer cars are generally more economical than older ones. Smaller cars are often cheaper as well, as are some of the newer greener models that also run off electricity. Check the fuel economy rating of most cars at

Accelerate, brake and change gear smoothly

Fast acceleration as soon as you get the chance probably won’t get you to your destination much more quickly but it will impact on your car’s fuel efficiency. Your car uses more fuel when you stop and start a lot so driving smoothly is best. And changing gear at around 2500 rpm is the most fuel efficient point in a petrol car, there’s no need to rev it any higher.

Maintain your car

  • Regular servicing of your vehicle can maintain engine efficiency.
  • Regularly washing and waxing your car will help to maintain the life of the paintwork.
  • Keeping your car under cover is best if possible as leaving it out in the weather can increase the likelihood of rust which can be expensive to fix.
  • Resolve problems as soon as you notice them. If you do discover an issue with your vehicle then get onto it quickly. Left unchecked car problems are unlikely to go away by themselves, most often they tend to get worse. And as they get worse, the cost of fixing them increases.

Don’t speed

The amount of fuel your car uses obviously increases with speed. So sticking to the speed limit, in addition to being safest (because you can stop more quickly if you need to), is also the most fuel efficient. And as the New Zealand police get stricter on enforcing the speed limit, especially during holiday periods, you will also save yourself the possibility of a ticket.

Check your tyre pressure regularly

Having under-inflated tyres increases the amount of resistance between your vehicle and the road. So your fuel bill will increase as your car uses more fuel to propel itself forward. It also means your tyres may wear out and need to be replaced more quickly. Over-inflated tyres won’t give you as much grip on the road when it comes to braking. So in addition to being economical to have your tyres at the correct pressure, it’s also an important safety factor. If you don’t know the correct tyre pressure for your car’s tyres then it’s easy enough to check online or contact a tyre outlet.

A lighter and more streamlined car uses less fuel

Avoid carrying unnecessary weight as it keeps your car light, so only keep what you need in your boot. It’s also good to remove roof racks or boxes when you’re not using them so that they don’t create unnecessary drag on your vehicle as this makes your engine work harder.

Wind down the window rather than cranking up the air con

Air con is a wonderful thing but it comes at a cost. Whilst it’s pretty much essential at certain times and in certain areas, it will cost you to run so bear this in mind if you want to save money on your car running costs. Whilst using air con in itself is not going to break the bank, moderating its use, in combination with the other factors mentioned here, can help you save money.

Still need convincing?

If you’re still not convinced of the value of these economical driving tips there’s a great tool to help you discover what these sorts of changes could do to your fuel bill which will give you a figure in dollar and cents that you could save.