How to Get Further with Your Fuel
If only our cars ran on air instead of fuel right? Unfortunately this is not the case and to experience the world it costs money! Sure you could buy the most economical car in the world but sometimes that’s unrealistic. Maybe being in a big city, sure that’s fine. But if you are into traveling the outback or towing your boat to the gulf for a spot of fishing then the word “economical” will never make it out of the dictionary.
The life on the open road can become reality, with a bit of planning and getting to know your vehicle. You could turn a trip from 10,000kms to 15,000kms on the same budget!
If you are unsure on how to calculate your fuel expenses, check out some of the tips and tricks below for more insight on travelling long distance.
WHATS YOUR FUEL BUDGET?
First step to a good Budget is knowing how far you will be travelling, jump over to Google Maps and enter your destination. Find out the kilometres returning to home, add another 20% of kilometres to the total and that gives you the rough kilometres you will be travelling. once you have the estimate of kilometres you can now work out your cost of fuel.
THE PROCESS IS AS FOLLOWS
- Divide the trip distance by 100.
- Multiply the result of this by your fuel consumption. (Learn your fuel consumption below)
- Then multiply this figure by the cost of fuel/litre.
Step 1. 815 km divided by 100 = 8.15.
Step 2. 8.15 multiplied by 9 (litres per 100km) = 73.35.
Step 3. 73.35 multiplied by $1.50 (per litre) = $110.
“TIP” Working your figures with more kms and a higher fuel price, will make sure you don’t run short on funds.
Knowing your vehicle is key in budgeting, the difference between your vehicle using 10 litres of fuel per 100km, or 20 litres per 100, makes a big difference. It could be a difference of a $1000 fuel bill or a $2000 fuel bill! Not caring or knowing your costs of travel can put you in a bad situation, you may run out of money or even worse run out of fuel.
- The best way to work out your fuel costs is go for an over-nighter some where. Hopefully with the same terrain as you would be checking out on your holiday. So example if you are heading into the high country try to pick hilly country for the weekend get away. If you have chosen something like Fraser island, go for a beach run.
- Pack the car as you would for a holiday and if you’re towing fill all the tanks and get as much weight on as possible, sounds crazy right? Now once you are all packed up ready to go, head straight for the fuel station, fill the fuel tank all the way up, write your odometer down, now off you go for your weekend away. If you need to refuel make sure you fill the tank again and write down the odometer and litres again. Now once you have returned home head straight for the fuel station and fill the tank again, now take the last odometer reading and litres.
THE PROCESS IS AS FOLLOWS
- Subtract your first odometer reading from your last reading.
- Add together the fuel litres that was put in at any stops and the last fill up.
- Now divide your litres by your kms then times 100.
Step 1. Odometer reading finish 62,273 – 61,384 first reading = 889 km travelled.
Step 2. Litres 75 + 81 = 156 litres used.
Step 3. 156/889 = 0.1754 x 100 Your fuel consumption is 17.5 litres per hundred kms.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR FUEL CONSUMPTION
As an open roader you need to get the best bang for buck when leaving the petrol station, after all if you’re not saving on fuel then you are not spending on fun.
The number one contribution to poor consumption is aerodynamic drag. We bolt all these accessories to our cars, chuck things on the roof and then pull a big caravan behind us. Wind drag could be reduced by installing aerodynamic devices around your vehicle. An example of this is a wind deflector at the front of your roof rack or even placing one further back on your roof.
What these devices do is keep the air streamed over the top of your roof rack luggage and up higher over your caravan. Instead of the air hitting the front of your car and then hitting the roof rack and van. Its deflected from the windscreen then carried straight over the top of the rest. Wind deflectors can also be mounted to the front of the trailer to keep the air flowing along your vehicle and smoothly past the trailer. A savings of a couple of litres per 100kms could occur with these simple devices, and that savings is money in your pocket!
Choose your tyres wisely! If you are a black top junky then the recommended highway terrain tyres and size will benefit. But if you are like me and like to explore off the beaten track then a decision of mud terrain or all terrain can become a lot harder to make. On top of that an increase of size thrown in and your head starts to spin.
If you find your self tackling the hardest tracks around on a regular basis then Mud terrains give the better traction off-roading and with a profile or 2 higher they will also give you better ground clearance. But the downside is the power lose and fuel economy is out the window. So they are usually best kept for weekend getaways. My previous 2 trips to Cape York I had fitted the BFGoodrich KM2 Mud-Terrains These tyres were the best part of my 4wd they never let me down and with 2 years and 2 trips to Cape York and everywhere else, they where still going strong when I sold the vehicle
Finding a happy medium between the different driving surfaces you may encounter all terrains is probably the best tyre for your vehicle. With increased tread depth and some aggressive tyre pattern an all terrain can be just as good as the muddies but with the fuel efficiency of a HT. I run BFGoodrich KO2 All-Terrains on my Mitsubishi Challenger and find them performing very well! With just over 20,000kms on them, they are still looking like new and do extremely well off-road in sand and mud.
Inflate your vehicle’s tyres to the highest pressure recommended by the manufacture and make sure your wheels are properly aligned. Looking after your tyres will not only cut your fuel consumption it will also extend tyre life and improve handling.
If travelling on dirt roads for an extended amount of time don’t be shy to lower the tyre pressures. By having your tyre pressures high it will give you the opposite effect to on road. Lowering the pressures will give you better traction across the corrugations and improve handling around corners but remember once back on the black top bring the tyres back up to optimum pressures.
Adding a snorkel should be high up on any serious tourers list of mods. While fitting a snorkel is usually associated with driving through bonnet deep water. It actually serves a second purpose as well. Drawing nice cool air from high up outside, it helps your engine breath that bit better. It has been proven to give up to 2L/100km better economy on some vehicles.
There is a catch when fitting a snorkel, it does add to minor wind drag but most of all it sucks in the dust if travelling in convoy and can clog your air filter up quicker than without the snorkel. Staying back out of the vehicle dust cloud in front can help but the best solution I have found and swear by is a snorkel sock. Something like the foam filter from Uni Filter can slip over the head of your snorkel and catch the dust and save your air filter from clogging up. Cleaning it daily with warm soapy water and giving it a spray with filter oil. Will keep your engine breathing nice clean air.
The way you drive can have a massive impact on how much fuel you use. As fun as that right pedal to the floor feeling is, it’s costing you precious beer money. We have all been stuck behind that car and caravan doing 80kph on the highway. Frustrated as you might be, they are laughing all the way to the pub. Because that 20kph below the speed limit not only helps them keep control of their big rig but its saving them hundreds of dollars!
Knowing your vehicles sweet spot is a huge advantage, while flooring it can get you to the speed limit quicker, it’s using unnecessary fuel. The sweet spot is where you are gaining momentum using the engine torque not necessarily the power of the engine. The gradual acceleration at the right RPM of the engine not overworking it nor underworking it is the best compromise between getting somewhere and saving money at the same time. Try it for yourself knock that 10kph of your speed and watch your kilometre per tank ratio start to rise, after all your on holidays so no need to rush right?