Many people use their cars to commute to work. Despite traffic, rising fuel costs and advice to ditch the car, there are plenty of reasons why people would still want or need to drive to work. Rather than go with the extreme advice of selling your car, here are a few tips that might actually add up to genuine savings if you still want to commute by car.
Maintaining the correct air pressure in your tyres will aid your fuel economy. Under or over inflated tyres are inefficient and end up using more fuel to drag and create friction. The simple act of monitoring and maintaining your tyre pressures could save you hundreds of dollars in fuel each year.
Scope out which service stations are generally the cheapest on your route and on which days. Make a note of these trends, and then plan your fuel stops accordingly. This may sound overly strategic, but soon enough it will become a habit and you’ll be capitalising on these trends. Your wallet will thank you for it.
Rewards cards and coupons
Using a credit card that collects rewards points can help make each trip to the petrol pump a little more beneficial in the long run. Some even allow you to redeem points for fuel cards. Also, some petrol station chains have their own credit cards, which can give you fuel benefits. Coupons such as dockets can also be used to obtain a discount per litre each time you fill up.
Go easy on the accelerator
By driving in a smooth manner and not braking or accelerating too much or too often, you will be maximising the efficiency of your car and preventing the unnecessary use of petrol. Drive with consideration, and you’ll notice the difference in fuel economy.
If your spouse drives to work at a different time in their own car, consider planning a route that can incorporate both of you and the use of only one car. If you have any colleagues or neighbours that live and work near you, then carpooling is a great way to split the cost of petrol and tolls. This can have a significant impact on your finances and has the added benefit of company during the drive in.
Work longer days or telecommute
Some people negotiate with their employers to work four 10 hour days instead of five 8 hour days. The end result is the same, but you will save a full return trip in the car each week, which certainly adds up. Furthermore, your insurer may even give you a discount for the reduced use of your car.
Avoid peak hour
Starting earlier or later and finishing earlier or later can help you to avoid driving to and from work during peak hour. Less traffic means less stop-starting and less idling, which ultimately means less petrol consumption.
Use the most fuel efficient car
If you have multiple cars in the household, the person making the longest journey should use the most economical car. If you have only one car, a more drastic approach could be to instead purchase a more fuel efficient vehicle.
These tips may sound trivial, but it’s the small things that add up to large improvements. Developing these habits will surely have a positive impact on your finances, and potentially help you keep commuting by car without the guilt or financial pressure.