Fuel prices have been the highest Territorians have ever seen, and the NT Independent will be sharing professionally recommended ways you can save money on fuel relevant to the Northern Territory.
If you turn off your air-conditioner over the next four months of the dry season in the Top End, or in the cooler months further south, you will be able to reduce your fuel consumption.
While various studies have different findings for potential savings depending on road, traffic, and environmental conditions, as well as the age and type of your car, you could be able to reduce fuel consumption by up to 10 per cent or more.
Or you can even save money just by not having the air-conditioner set as cold – aim for 22 and 24 to degrees after you have the initial temperature down.
While the temperature in Darwin doesn’t drop that much, a few degrees cooler in the Dry, the afternoon humidity can be about 50 per cent less in July than it is in February, with significant drops in May, June, and August compared to the Build-up and the Wet.
This can make all the difference.
You can opt to just cool the interior of your car, and then rely on the fan if you are on a highway, or a dirt track. Or if you are driving around town, you can open the window (doing this at high speeds can increase fuel consumption) and let the Dry season winds do the rest of the cooling.
Or open the sun roof, or take the top off your convertible, if you want to feel really 80s Magnum PI cool.
And in the Red Centre and other regions, where the temperature plummets, you can do without the air-conditioner during those months.
How much petrol or diesel do you save with the air-conditioner off?
Depending on the type of car you drive, among many other factors, one Swiss study found the average petrol use savings with the air-conditioner off across various driving conditioners was 5.4 per cent, and up to 10 per cent in traffic, and about half of that for diesel vehicles.
The report stated that it is known from physiological studies that the average driver feels comfortably warm when the air temperature around the head is 23 degrees.
Your car’s air-conditioner is an accessory, merely an add-on to your car’s engine. Your 120Y Datsun or HQ Holden didn’t have an AC installed back in the 70s so why do you need it now?
And Mad Max didn’t need an air-conditioner either and he was cooler than anyone in the Terrritory.
So another alternative is to buy yourself a cool looking car, and you will naturally feel cooler without using an air-conditioner.
We do recommend Mad Max’s heavily modified XB GT Ford Falcon hardtop with black paint scheme, roof and boot spoilers, wheel arch flares, front nose cone and air-dam, eight individual exhaust side pipes, and the Weiand 6-71 supercharger protruding through the bonnet.
The downside being that it might be naturally a little heavier on the juice than your Corolla, even when it has the air-conditioner on full bore.
But we guarantee you will feel cool.