How to Choose an Economical Petrol Car

Fuel economy is an important decision when purchasing a car, and there are several factors worth considering if you’re looking for the most cost-effective vehicle.

Whether you’re motivated by keeping your car running optimally, reducing your costs, or want to lower your impact on the environment, the points below can help you make a more informed decision when purchasing your next petrol car.

1. Purpose and use

Firstly, it pays to understand how you’ll be using the vehicle. A great question to start with is whether you’ll only be driving it around town or using it for longer trips. Also, consider if you’ll frequently carry passengers or load your car up with bulky or heavy items.

2. Vehicle size

Assuming that smaller cars are more economical is a good rule of thumb, but this is not always the case – especially as technology can differ significantly between modern vehicles. Smaller vehicles are typically designed for shorter trips in urban environments and they tend to have inferior performances on longer journeys and on more varied terrain compared with larger vehicles.

The size of a car’s engine determines the power the engine can produce, as well as how much fuel the engine needs. Smaller engines typically consume less fuel as they require less power, and a smaller engine contributes to a lower vehicle weight.

Alongside size, weight is another critical factor. The heavier the car, the more fuel it requires to move. Therefore, a heavier vehicle has a lower fuel economy, although adding extra features to a smaller car has the same effect.

3. Look for newer models

Fuel efficiency and low running costs are increasingly important factors in vehicle purchase decisions. Manufacturers are constantly making improvements to vehicles to increase their fuel efficiency and capitalise on this. This constant innovation often makes buying a newer model a better decision from a fuel efficiency perspective.

In New Zealand, all vehicles for sale by vehicle traders must have a fuel economy label. This label includes a star rating out of six and the fuel economy in litres per 100km. This helps you to easily compare fuel economy between vehicles.

4. Making your fuel go further

A well-maintained vehicle has a better fuel economy. Poorly tuned engines, low tyre tread and pressure, and clogged air filters can all have an impact on how efficiently your car uses fuel.

When buying a used car, check the vehicle’s service history to see if the previous owner took proper care of the vehicle. And, when browsing vehicles for sale by car dealers, never hesitate to ask about fuel economy, particularly in the context of how you’ll be using the vehicle.

If you’re looking to keep your fuel costs as low as possible, it pays to keep in mind that your style of driving plays a big part too. Once you’ve made a fuel-efficient purchase, check out our tips for saving on your car running costs.