The Territory’s top fuel tips

by | May 25, 2022 | Territory's Best | 0 comments

You’ve followed all of NT Independent’s fuel-saving tips, and there has been noticeable savings on your fuel bill. Now, have you checked your tyres lately?

The air pressure in your tyres carries the entire weight of your car, including unnecessary things that are installed or junk kept in your boot.

Maintaining the correct tyre pressure is crucial for keeping your driving safe, and improving both your car’s performance and fuel economy.

Under-inflated tyres widen their contact with the road, increasing friction and wear. Bear in mind that a tyre doesn’t need to look a little flat to be underinflated. Always check tyre pressure using a proper pressure gauge.

Under-inflated tyres will cause your car to increase rolling resistance making the engine work harder than normal, increasing fuel consumption.

It will also cause uneven tread wear with tyre edges wearing out faster.

And making braking more dangerous.

On the other hand, overinflated tyres have the same effects as your tyres being underinflated.

It also gives you a bumpy ride.

Forget the myth that overinflated tyres offer better fuel economy. It’s not true. Always keep your tyres inflated at the recommended level.

Low tyres pressure increases your vehicle’s drag, which increases fuel consumption.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the USA found that every for 20 kPa reduction in tyre pressure there is a one per cent decrease in fuel economy.

Under inflation of the tyre by 10 per cent increases fuel consumption by 2 per cent. A twenty per cent, by 4 per cent, and at 40 per cent below the recommended level, fuel consumption increases by 8 per cent.

Changes in temperatures also affect tyre pressure.

For every 5 degree drop in temperature, there is a two per cent loss in tyre pressure. Your tyre also inflates about 2 per cent with a 5 degree rise in temperature.

Mary from Bakewell – who you have met before – article drives a 2015 Mazda 323 which consumes 6 litres of fuel per hour at 100km. While Matto from Humpty Doo – who yous also met – in his 10.5 litre per 100km 2010 Hilux.

Those two met in our last fuel saving tip article after using the  NT Government’s My Fuel NT website to find the cheapest fuel in Darwin at that moment was at FuelXpress in Winnellie.

Their eyes met across the fuel bowser and while there was no bonk in the bushes straight away, they decided they dig each other.

Now, they have both learnt that they can save money by inflating their tyres. Mary can save ?? and Matto can save ??. But because Matto is so lazy, he pays Mary $5 a throw for her to inflate his tyres for him.

Not in that way, get your dirty minds out of this, family friendly fuel saving article. We literally mean inflate his tyres.

Both drivers can thank Fuel Express for bringing them these fuel-saving tips.

Bet you’ve read about Matto and Mary in NT Independent’s fuel-saving tips? Did we get you curious enough to visit NT Government’s and drop by the service station that offers the lowest fuel prices? If yes, then you just have saved $5 to $10 for yourself, and maybe up to a thousand dollars by next year!

Matto and Mary followed NT Independent’s tip and went straight to Fuel Express in Winnellie to fill up. To better acquaint yourself with this amusing couple, clink on the links to know them.

Mary, from Bakewell, drives a 2015 Mazda 323. She already saved $5.23 by going to the cheapest service station in town. This is on top of savings of $5.85 per week by dumping her boyfriend which lightened the car’s weightturning off the air-conditioning in the dry and the speed and acceleration control during her drives made a difference to her tight budget.

Matto, from Humpty Doo, saved $7.41 in filling up his 2010 Hilux. Following NT Independent’s fuel-saving tips, removed this heavy dog cage (never used it anyway) off the back of his truck, turned off his aircon for the drying and curbed his speed and acceleration enabling him to save $11 weekly. He is now saving a lot more by buying his fuel from Darwin’s cheapest service station.

Now, time for them to meet. Mary, coming in from Tiger Brennan Drive pulled up at bouser three at 8:02am as Matto was driving down the Stuart Hi-way to work and arrived at Fuel Express at 8.03am.

He pulled up at bouser four which shares the same driveway as Mary who was already filling up her Mazda. Mary noticed the calm way in which Matto had arrived and that his window was down.

Mary couldn’t help herself and complimented Matto on his calm demeanour and mentioned how not using aircon and driving sensibly adds to a lot of fuel savings.

“I know, I read that on the NT independent,” Matto responded, knowing this all too well.

They continued to chat mostly about the articles on the NT Independent while filling up their tanks.

They were hitting it off.

“Well I’ve saved $5,” Mary said as she screwed the fuel cap on after the tank was full.

Matto was thinking to himself “Shit, I wish she had a bigger fuel tank so the chat could continue.”

Mary looked at Matto and said. “Hey with all the savings we are making do you want… (to be continued)


Thumbs up for the NT Government’s My Fuel NT price comparison site

This is the NT Independent telling you the NT Government has done something good. Believe it or not, the government can help you save on fuel. This tip, may save you to the price of a happy hour schooner on each tank of fuel, and up to $1000 in a year.

Territorians are trying to find ways to save their hard-earned money. And the NT Independent has been running a series showing you how you can you save money on fuel.

In this article we will focus the NT Government’s My Fuel NT website.

NT motorists benefit from government rules that compel service station operators across the NT to log changes to their fuel prices in real-time databases on the My Fuel NT website. Logging in to this website, and finding service stations with the lowest fuel prices, can save you money.

Many of the petrol stations in Darwin often have almost the same fuel prices. Which can be frustrating.

But, for example, late on Friday afternoon, the lowest priced unleaded 91 in Darwin was $1.86.9 per litre at FuelXpress in Winnellie.

And at the same time, 19 of Darwin’s 22 listed service stations were selling unleaded 91 at either $1.93.7 or $1.93.9 per litre.

That would be a saving of about seven cents per litre.Thus, if you had a 70-litre tank to fill at that time, you would have saved $4.90. But be careful how far you drive for cheap fuel, it costs you money to drive there.

You can also find the cheapest diesel on the site. Again, on Friday afternoon you would have found it at FuelXpress in Winnellie, where it was $2.03.5 per litre

All but one of the rest of the service stations were selling it either $2.09.5, $2.09.7, or $2.09.9 per litre, with the other was selling it at 2.11.9 per litre.

Buying it FuelXpress would save you at least six cents litre. If you were filling up a 100-litre tank you would save $6. That is the price of your first knock-off schooner.

If these price differentials were constant, depending on your commute, and the fuel economy of your car, this app you could save $300 to $1000 annually.

The My Fuels NT website shows prices from across the NT broken down into different regions.

Other fuel apps such as Petrol Spy, Motor Mouth and Fuel Map Australia, are crowdsourcing apps that tend to work best in bigger population areas where there are more people to report prices.

Not much of a help when in the NT. Bugger it.


Do not carry unnecessary items in your boot or the backseat. Like the selection of bathroom tiles from 4 Kitchens that you were hanging onto for that renovation one day. Car manufacturers go to extreme lengths to reduce the weight of vehicles so they can boast the fuel savings. Ever wonder why your car comes with that really skinny spare tyre? Well, it’s not for your convenience, of having more space, it’s there to reduce weight to reduce your fuel consumption.

Mary from Bakewell – who you met in the last fuel saving article – drives a 2015 Mazda 323 and knows this too well. The Mazda consumes 6 litres of fuel per hour at 100km. Mary split with her boyfriend, Bruce who was a hefty 120kg, and had lost his licence for the third time for drink driving. Mary had been driving Bruce to work every morning in the city close to her own workplace and then home again for the past year. This was an extra 120kg for 250km per week for one year. Mary has noticed the fuel saving each week with the weight loss. The three per cent saving for the 250km has led has led to $2.25 per saving each week. This added to the previous savings from turning off the air-conditioning in the Dry, plus the speed and acceleration control. So Mary has been able to save $5.85 each week

Matto from Humpty Doo – who yous also met – in his 10.5 litre per 100km 2010 Hilux can also make some savings. He has the standard dog cage that most blokes from the rural area seem to have, even though he hasn’t had a dog since 2018. Matto’s cage was not one of the flash light weight aluminium ones you can get from Morrison Fabrications, it was made from 50mm x 5mm rectangular hollow section steel, with heavy duty mesh and weighs 150kg. He has been driving with this 150kg on the back of his Hilux for the past four years, driving an average of 600km a week, and hadn’t even used it. If Matto had of taken this 150kg weight from his rig he would have had 4 er cent savings over four years. If we assume Matto has paid an average of $1.40 per litre over the time, he would have saved $665 in four years. Again, if Matto applied the no air-conditioning in the Dry, and speed and acceleration control,  he would have saved another $8 per week. Now dropping the weight of his dog cage off his ute, Matto is now able to enjoy another $3 saving per week. Bringing his total weekly savings to $11 per week.

One older Monash University study shows a passenger car consumes 50 per cent more fuel travelling at 120km/h than 88km/h. A car travelling faster also emits twice as much carbon monoxide, 50 per cent more hydrocarbons, and 31 per cent more nitrogen oxides.

While the Federal Government’s Green Vehicle Guide states that driving at 110 km/h, your car can use up to 25 per cent more fuel than it would at 90 km/h.

This means a trip to Darwin from Katherine can cost you half the amount if you are willing to take an extra hour. Based on NT Independent calculations, at today’s fuel prices and depending on your vehicle, this is going to save you a lot.

Even using a saving of 30 per cent in a economical family car, would lead to a saving of more than $50 on a round trip to Katherine. And if you’re in your pig hunting LandCruiser, the round trip with a lead foot will cost you at least $100 more.

Let the NT Independent put this in further context for you.

Meet Matto from Humpty Doo who works in Winnellie, and Mary from Bakewell who works in Darwin city.

To get to work, Matto drives from Humpty Doo to Winnellie, which is about a 70km round trip every day, in his 2010 petrol Toyota Hilux which consumes 10.5 litres at 100km/h. The speed limit is 100km/h for about 20km on the way in, and 80km/h until the end of his commute on the Stuart Hwy -Tiger Brennan Drive route.

By dropping his speed to 90km/h while in the 100km/h speed limit zone, he will save 10 per cent of his fuel costs over the 200km driven per week drive in the 100km/h speed limit zone.

Driving at a lower speed saved Matto 2.2 litres each week (approximately $4 per week). Now everybody driving from the rural area is aware that it is not a drive to the city without getting nine out of 10 red lights.

With a slower driving speed, Matto can now employ the ‘accelerate moderately, coast when you can’ driving rule since more fuel is used accelerating from stoplights or traffic, especially when you often use your brake at the next set of lights.

A weekly savings of $4 does not include Matto’s now controlled acceleration in between traffic lights and his newly found maxim ‘turn your air-con off in the Dry rule’ courtesy of the NT Independent’s previous fuel-saving article. With a ‘suck-of-thumb’ analysis, we have helped save Matto at least $8 per week.

Now, let’s meet Mary.

Mary dives an economical 2015 Mazda 323. After passing the eight or so set of traffic lights every 46 meters ‘up top’ she comes to a nice cruising speed through to the city via Tiger Brennan Drive for about 20km, and for 14km of that she can drive at the more economical 90km/h in the 100km/h speed limit zone.

The Mazda consumes 6 litres of fuel per hour at 100km. A week of reducing her speed to a maximum of 90km/h sees her saving around 1 litre of fuel again, not allowing for her new Zen approach to accelerating out of the lights, and sacrificing her hairstyle by having her car’s window open.

By driving slower, employing moderate acceleration and coasting whenever possible, Mary now saves at least two litres every week.

Both drivers can thank Fuel Express for bringing them these fuel-saving tips.

How to save fuel costs by restricting air-con use:

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


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