Extra holiday driving tips to not only minimise your fuel bills but to also help make sure you arrive at your destination safely.
If New Zealand had one giant on/off lever, it would soon be powering down. That's because it's just about summer holiday time and a good majority of New Zealand will be shutting down the job site or turning off the office lights and heading for the beach.
And most of us will be driving.
Given fuel prices lately, driving can unfortunately be one of the larger expenses of a road trip, especially when you factor in towing a boat or caravan or if you're like the average Kiwi family you're driving a packed car with kids or grandkids, camping equipment and a hundred various beach toys.
Most Kiwis have a good idea of how to drive economically. The most used method often involves driving as if there is a sleeping kitten just under your accelerator. Go easy… don't wake the kitten. But with holiday driving there are numerous other factors to take into account besides just driving without a lead foot. To that end, Ford New Zealand has provided the following extra holiday driving tips to not only minimise your fuel bills but to also help make sure you arrive at your destination safely:
Ensure your tyres are up to the correct pressure; that includes your trailer too.
Towing a boat or caravan is going increase your fuel bill. There's no way around it. But by making sure both your car tyres and trailer tyres are at the correct pressure, you'll minimise fuel use and you'll be much safer. Low tyre pressure can cause blowouts.
Time your departure
We all know leaving the Friday night of a big weekend means a mind-numbing, frustrating, lemming-like procession down the motorway. Or do we? Judging by the regular back up of traffic on said days, many of us don't. If you can leave earlier or even the next morning, you'll save time, a large amount of fuel, and your sanity – driving off on holiday is a great feeling and can actually be quite a pleasant experience if you're not stuck in traffic.
Always look ahead and get a good idea of what is about to happen in the next few seconds. Minimise your reactionary braking, or aggressive acceleration. Smooth out your driving and you'll save fuel. Again, this is especially important if you're towing. It takes both more time to stop and more time (and fuel) to get back up to speed when towing a heavy load.
Don't drive angry
Easier said than done, especially if you're stuck behind a caravan going uphill and they won't pull over. But angry or aggressive driving actually burns more fuel. Heavy acceleration means heavy fuel use. And please don't be the person that cruises at 80kmh but then speeds when there is a passing lane so no one can get by you. Maintain your speed; you'll get there too even if someone passes you. Above all, go easy and remember: you're on holiday.
Using cruise control on the motorway can save as much as 5 per cent versus manually driving between 90 and 100 kmh.
Are you in tune?
Would your engine sing well enough to win an automotive X Factor? Kiwis are notorious for not servicing their vehicles. But while you may be saving money in servicing costs, you'll end up paying in the long run with poorer fuel economy, a higher mechanic's bill or even a break down on the way to the batch.
Check both your vehicle and/or your trailer to ensure everything is balanced or distributed evenly and is as streamlined as possible. Ensure it's all properly secure. Stacking surfboards, kayaks or a number of things on your roof should be done to minimise wind drag.
This one has nothing to do with your car. Watch out for grocery store deals. Some can have up to 40 cents off a litre when you spend a certain amount, which is very exciting for your wallet! Just be careful you're not overspending to get the deal, which would be somewhat counterproductive.
Lastly, what's powering your car?
Modern engines are now more fuel efficient than they've ever been. Even larger vehicles like the Ford Falcon do remarkably well; especially when they're powered by one of Ford's new EcoBoost™ engines. Through a combination of innovative technologies and modern turbo charging, Ford's EcoBoost engines can reduce your fuel bill while still deliver exhilarating performance. EcoBoost is now available across almost the entire range of Ford vehicles, providing something for almost every driver this summer. To find out more, search Ford EcoBoost online.