Fuel Economy Explained: Your Complete Guide to Economical Driving

Fuel Economy

We’ve all heard the term ‘fuel economy’ when talking about cars, but what exactly does it mean? Find out how to save fuel and cash with Gumtree Cars’ complete guide to fuel economy: what it is, why it matters, how it’s measured and what options you have to reduce your fuel consumption.

What does fuel economy mean, and why does it matter?

Basically, the fuel economy of a car describes the amount of fuel consumed by the car to travel a certain distance. This is generally expressed in terms of volume of fuel to travel a given distance, or the distance travelled per unit volume of fuel consumed. For example, the fuel economy of a 2.0-litre, petrol Mazda CX5 is 8.2 litres per 100 km, which means when driving the CX5, you can expect to use 8.2 litres of petrol to travel 100 km.

Fuel economy is measured the same way regardless of the type of fuel being measured. Whether it’s petrol, diesel, LPG or ethanol, you’ll see the fuel economy of a vehicle expressed in the same method of units of fuel per distance. Specific types of fuel deliver better distances for each unit; however, it’s important to remember that the unit price of each fuel type isn’t the same when you’re estimating the costs associated with fuel economy in different cars.

Diesel vs petrol: which is more efficient?

One of the chief considerations when comparing diesel and petrol cars is their fuel efficiency – diesel engines typically use 30 per cent less fuel, offer the best fuel economy in each vehicle class, and get more kilometres per litre than their petrol counterparts. Though diesel is more expensive than unleaded petrol in most Australian cities (and remote areas), it typically costs the same or less than premium unleaded required by some modern petrol engines.

Other fuel types, such as LPG, offer improved fuel economy. If you’re driving a petrol car, ethanol options generally give you the same fuel economy for a cheaper price per litre at the pump. If you’re looking to save even more (and do some good for the planet) consider a hybrid model.

Fuel economy doesn’t mean small or boring

A fuel efficient car should fit your lifestyle as well as your wallet, and there are plenty of cars that are both fuel efficient and enjoyable to drive in every class. Some of the best fuel economy cars in Australia are SUVs, catering for everyone from active families looking to save money on the school run, to keen off-roaders looking for cheaper adventure.

If you’re looking for an economical option without doing a tonne of research, look for a dealer new or late-model option. Almost all of the major car brands now sport technology designed to boost fuel economy, including stop/start to reduce fuel consumption while your car is idle, and improved aerodynamics to reduce wind resistance and get you further for every litre.

Now that you know what to look for in a fuel-efficient vehicle, it’s time to start browsing. Check out a range of dealer finance options available.

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