Household survival tips – 8 proven ideas to save on fuel

by Chris Lang on November 29, 2008

Buying petrol at gas stationLooking at our family budget, the amounts we spend on petrol are kind of hard to miss. We drive a lot, and in many cases there is no way around it. Recession or no recession, people still have to get to work, drive the kids to schools and go shopping – but there is a way around paying a lot for the petrol.

Here’s what you can do to significantly reduce the petrol costs (I’m talking hundreds of dollars a year):

1. Start walking

Every time before starting the car, ask yourself: do I really need to drive there? Or even better, make a list of your everyday destinations, and think: which ones are within walking distance? You’ll be surprised how many places people drive to just out of habit to reach places by car. This little revision can save you a lot by getting you out of “driving” mindset and into a “walking” mindset.

2. Ride your bike
Bicycle at gas station

Some places are not within a driving distance, but definitely within a bike-riding distance. Not only will you save on fuel, it’s also a great exercise and a very “green” way to get yourself anywhere. Whatever it will cost you to buy a bike and a helmet you will save on petrol within about 3 months. Want proof? Have a look at Frugal Dad’s article about riding to work and see all the calculations there.

3. Carpool

If you’re not familiar with the term, it means car-sharing with other people for commuting. Find people (co-workers for example) to share a car with and split petrol costs or just rotate, use somebody else’s car every day/week. Another idea is to carpool kids to school or other activities.

4. Shop on your way

Do your shopping on the way home from work or when running other errands. Plan your route and your day so that you’ll get the shopping done without dedicating a special trip to it.

5. Shop locally

Are there closer shops that you can go to? Shopping locally will reduce your driving distances. Of course it only makes sense if the prices in the local shops aren’t higher then in those further away.

6. Find closer parks

People like going to familiar places, so every family has a number of favorite parks. Explore a little – have a look on the internet to see if you can find other parks, closer to where you live. Give them a try, who knows, your kids might like the new places. This way you’ll kill two birds with one stone – save on petrol and have a new park on your list.

7. Buy petrol cheap

Go to Motormouth website if you’re in Australia or just do a search in Google for cheap petrol from anywhere in the world and you will find websites that list petrol stations with the lowest prices in your area. Another idea is to fill your tank early in the week because the prices always go up towards the weekend.

8. Use fuel dockets

Don’t throw away the receipts from the supermarkets – save the fuel dockets and use them when paying for petrol. Get into a habit of having at least one or two of those in your car. Pay attention to expiry date and make sure you use the older ones first!

Do you have other ideas on how to save on petrol? What works for you?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dino De Lelelis January 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm

I agree , with todays rising oil prices it has become more and more important to economize or find other alternatives methods of transportation.

Another possible alternative is going hybrid or convert to an alternative form of fuel. Already here in my city you see vehicles running on Bio-fuel or methane and the cost a mere fraction compared to petroleum. the main problem here is that it’s a new technology so there are a limited number of support establishments for this.

-Dino Delellis

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Chris January 20, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Well, also the costs of such conversion need to be considered. For example, it only makes sense to convert new cars because old cars won’t live long enough for the conversion to pay off.

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Chris January 20, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Guys, if you’re into cars, check out the Automotive resource carnival . Many interesting reads.

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