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12 Practical Tips On Fuel Savings

With crude oil prices increasing to about 40% higher since the first quarter of this year, the price of petrol and diesel were also affected and went up about 15% and 30% higher respectively, according to the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS). It is pretty evident that with the economic downturn and rising petrol prices, you’ll have to save as much as you can. Here are some ways you can cut down on your fuel costs and maximise your car’s fuel efficiency.

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Tip #1: Get cards with the best petrol discounts

The Citi Cash Back Card, OCBC 365 Card and UOB One Card are some of the best credit cards to have as they offer more than 20% fuel savings at popular petrol stations. Using tools like MoneySmart’s credit cards comparison page can help you search for the best deals for your petrol usage.

Tip #2: Ensure tyres are pumped up when necessary

Having insufficient air pressure in your tyres will create more drag as your car moves, so you’ll need more power to move the same distance, therefore using more fuel. Make sure you check frequently if you’re pumping an ideal amount of air into your car’s tyres, which is usually around 240 to 260 kilopascal units.

Tip #3: Prevent clogged air filters

Most drivers are not aware of this or that they tend to forget about it — clogged air filters can drive up your fuel consumption up by up to 10% as they restrict airflow to the engine. So to reduce your fuel consumption due to this issue, you’ve got to check, clean or replace your air filters when necessary.

Tip #4: Warm up your engine right

Take no more than 30 seconds to warm up your engine after starting it as any longer than about half a minute is a waste of your fuel. The little bit of fuel wastage will all add up to a noticeable amount if every time you start your engine and warm it up for too long.

Tip #5: Reduce aerodynamic drag

When you have more load on or in your car i.e. roof racks, spoilers, etc., your car will tend to burn more fuel as more energy is needed to get the car moving and this increases aerodynamic drag. By having lesser load and not leaving your car windows open while driving, you’ll not only reduce the aerodynamic drag but also save on your fuel consumption.

Tip #6: Try not to accelerate too much

Your car’s fuel consumption remains at a minimum when it is moving at a moderate speed, unlike when its accelerator is activated and the engine uses a whole lot more fuel. You can even use cruise control (if your car has this mode) on highways to help your car maintain a constant speed and reduce fuel consumption.

Tip #7: Switch to eco mode

Nowadays, most cars have the “Eco Mode” setting which makes the engine and accelerator pedal less responsive to inputs, and helps reduce fuel consumption.

Tip #8: Consider electric cars

If you’re considering switching from a petrol-powered car to an electric car, there’s the current Vehicle Emission Scheme (VES) which lets you get $15,000 to $25,000 rebates for electric cars registered from 1 Jan 2021 onwards.

Tip #9: Turn down or off the air-conditioner whenever possible

A car’s air conditioner can consume about 10% more fuel when in use. Unless you’re driving at more than 80 km/h, it makes more economic sense to use the air conditioner than opening your car’s window.

Tip #10: Pick Usage-Based Insurance (UBI)

UBI helps you to drive less as it works on paying less when you drive less. You’ll consume less fuel naturally when you drive less. Some insurers like Etiqa even offer you cash rebates of up to 30% of your basic premium, Income’S UBI is solely designed for electric cars in Singapore. 

Their UBI premium is determined by distance tracking that is measured by a device linked directly to your car’s odometer. If you’d like to find out more, you can tap on tools like MoneySmart’s car insurance comparison platform.

Tip #11: Opt for thinner tyres

Although thicker tyres with thicker width gives a better all-weather performance for your car, it increases your car's fuel consumption. So if saving on fuel consumption is of higher priority than driving performance to you, then thinner-width tyres would be a better choice.

Tip #12: Never let the engine idle

Did you know that leaving your car idle for just more than 10 seconds consumes more fuel than restarting the engine? That’s according to a report by a science and engineering research centre, Argonne National Laboratory, in the United States. If you’re guilty of leaving your car’s engine to idle for a long while, say 15 minutes, you’re actually wasting about 473 ml of petrol, compared to 31 ml of petrol if your car only idles for a minute.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does an electric car like the Tesla model cost and is it worth it?

The estimated price (including COE) for a Tesla Model 3 electric car is about $250,000 (as at August 2022) according to SGCarMart. It is much pricier as compared to the typical petrol-powered car, but you’ll be able to save a few thousands of dollars or even up to about $40,000 when you switch from a regular petrol-powered car to an electric one. What’s more, the cost per km for electric cars is many times less than that of petrol-run cars.

Is it cheaper to drive an electric car in Singapore?

Currently, the Open Market Values (OMVs) of electric cars are still much higher than regular petrol-powered cars. Despite that, you can still make significant savings for fuel consumption when you switch over to electric cars. If you’d like to know more, you can read more on the cost of owning an electric car in Singapore.

Should I get Usage-based Insurance (UBI)?

It depends on how often you drive. UBI is usually meant for those who do not drive very often despite owning a car, because the rates per km are decided on one’s personal details and car model. If you own a car for grocery runs every now and then, or to go for weekend spins, and choose another mode of transport for your regular commute, UBI may be more suitable for you.

A UBI scheme is based on a distance tracking system that is measured by a device linked directly to your car’s odometer, or taking photos and uploading the images of your car odometer reading to your car insurer’s mobile app to track the distance covered.

Are electric cars more expensive to insure in Singapore?

At the moment, yes, the annual car insurance premium will cost about $2,000 to $8,000 (depending on the type of model and brand and make of the car) but it also depends very much on many factors because the exact annual premium is determined on a case-by-case basis. Factors such as your age, occupation, driving experience, claims history and many more, are taken into consideration before your premium is determined.

Do I get rebates when I get an electric car?

There are a few rebate options you’ll be entitled to when you get an electric car in Singapore. These include being able to claim up to 45% rebate on the Additional Registration Fee (ARF) under the EV Early Adoption Incentive (EEAI) that is valid from now until 31 Dec 2023. Another benefit would be the Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES) which will let you get $15,000 to $25,000 rebates for new cars, taxis, and imported used cars registered on 1 Jan 2021 onwards.

What is the Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES)?

The VES was introduced to cover four more pollutants including Hydrocarbons (HC), Carbon Monoxide (CO) ,Nitrogen Oxides (NOX) and Particulate Matter (PM), to reduce harmful vehicle emissions. VES applies to cars and taxis registered from 1 January 2018 onwards, and the current Vehicle Emission Scheme (VES) lets you get $15,000 to $25,000 rebates for electric cars registered from 1 Jan 2021 onwards.

Should I get car insurance directly from an insurer or through a broker?

This depends on your preference. If you’d like to find out for yourself about the differences in car insurance plans and prices all at one go, you can compare quotes via a comparison platform like MoneySmart or a broker before you renew. However, if you do not mind the hassle of going through the details and reading the fine print yourself, you can buy the car insurance directly from your preferred car insurer.