Fuel prices are notorious for shifting at the blink of an eye. Motorists are constantly frustrated with car expenses, and if you own a car that's a dingy beat-up lemon, it's likely your engine churns through fuel.
Most obviously, the speed you drive your car at is going to be the most influential factor affecting fuel consumption. However, there are other ways you can save petrol in your old car, which will have a significant impact on the money you're spending at the pump.
This might sound silly, but aerodynamics are a sure way to help your car out. It's simple really. Wind resistance increases fuel consumption. Having the window open increases your cars air resistance and hence the use of fuel. So, keep your windows closed at high speeds on the road and take off any roof racks or bike racks if they're not being used.
The next step is to slow down. If you're fanging it down the freeway at 110km/h, your car is using a quarter more of a tank than it would cruising along at 90km/h. Likely, your car won't have a cruise control function given his age, so try to maintain a steady speed, which helps to save fuel.
Regularly service your car. Which, in turn, also helps to maintain the efficiency of the engine. Look after your car's tyre's and keep them inflated to the highest pressure recommended. Not only will this reduce your fuel consumption, but it can also extend tyre life and improve your car's handling.
Be sensible. You'd think this is a given for safety reasons but reading the road ahead can mean you brake and accelerate less often and therefore use less fuel. Drive smoothly in heavy traffic by avoiding accelerating to catch up to the stationary car in front. Stop/start driving is far less fuel-efficient than driving at a constant speed. This can't always be avoided, but when you can, avoid travelling during peak hours and on congested roads.
In a manual car, driving in a lower gear than necessary wastes fuel and also makes your car's engine work much harder than it needs to. It's wasteful to sit in a low gear as you ride up hills or take corners, so change gears as soon as the car is comfortable without accelerating harder than necessary.
It's hard to think of turning off the AC with summer fast approaching, but the reality is, air-conditioning increases fuel consumption, especially at lower speeds. If the weather has turned up and it's scorching hot, use the AC for high-speed driving, but have your windows down when you're cruising slowly.
Now, let's talk about petrol. Using petrol that is recommended for your vehicle by the manufacturer is a sure way to increase your vehicle's economic ability. Using premium unleaded in a car designed for regular unleaded might decrease fuel consumption in some newer vehicles, but with your old heap, it's unlikely to offset the extra cost of fuel.
If your car really is just a petrol thief, it might be time for you to consider a long-term car rental. There are plenty of cheap solutions, whether it's a small or big car you're after and all within a reasonable budget.