This blonde Australian lady charges her electric car so she has a lower carbon footprint.

8 Ways to Spend Less Cash AND Make Your Car More Eco-Friendly


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Want to save money on your motoring, reduce your fuel consumption AND your carbon footprint? Affordable driving is not just possible but often easy too. In fact, several ways to save money driving spend actually save you time as well. Bonus!

In this article, PD Insurance unpacks eight ways to reduce your driving costs and make your car eco-friendlier. Take a look.

Woman in a leather jacket smiling while enjoying affordable driving in her eco-friendly car.

Want to know how to save money driving?

Knowing how to save money driving is becoming more valuable by the minute. Not just for your wallet but for the environment too. Car insurance is one way to protect your finances when it comes to car related costs.

There are also several government schemes to help people have a more affordable driving experience. For example, some parts of the country are looking at a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars in 2035. Then there’s electric car rebates to help you make the switch more affordably.

Whether you’re exploring how to save money driving to balance your budget and/or because cars contribute to global warming, you’re in the right place. Without further ado, here are seven affordable driving tips.

Two women securing a surfboard to the roof of a car on a sunny day (keeping items in the car if possible, rather than on the roof can reduce wind drag and help affordable driving)

1. Improving aerodynamics can boost fuel economy

Happily, modern cars are being designed with aerodynamics in mind. These cars have been designed for smoother airflow around your car while you’re driving resulting in lower turbulence. This is also called wind drag and the less wind drag you experience the less fuel your car consumes and the more affordable your driving can be.

If you drive a relatively new car, then in this regard, your car is already playing a role in economic driving. That said, what you add to its exterior can be problematic, particularly at high speeds.

Here are a few examples:

Inside rather than outside

Let’s say you love to get out and go for an early morning surf, for example. You can save money with your motoring by owning a car big enough to fit your surfboard inside. Laying the seats down and placing your board (or other belongings) inside rather than on the roof racks helps you limit the wind drag.

if you’re looking at how to save money driving, this simple fix is a great start.

Remove excess weight

Similarly, car pods, bull bars, trailers and caravans can all have a negative impact on your aerodynamics. It might not feel like much – but these things add up, so removing excess weight you don’t need will help your wallet and the planet.

woman in an orange top refueling her car with a vehicle at a gas station.

2. Choose an eco-friendly fuel like E10 or biodiesel

You’ve seen them at the pump, but you’re not sure about them. What’s the go?

E10 fuel contains a mix of about 10% ethanol and 90% petrol. The ethanol in E10 is an efficient, renewable energy made from grain, molasses from sugar cane, corn, beets and other energy-rich plants.

It’s up to 50% kinder on the environment and often cheaper at the pump – so a great alternative to regular fuel.

If you own a diesel, it’s a general rule that the emissions your car produces are the most toxic, but by using biodiesel (aka B5 or B20 at the pump), you can reduce your carbon emissions by up to 85% and can be gentler on your bank account. Before venturing there, check if your car can run on E10.

Also check out five top tips for improving fuel efficiency and if you want to stop using fuel altogether, we’ve got a section on electric cars further down.

Choosing an eco-friendly fuel is up to 50% kinder to the environment and saves money on motoring.

3. Plan ahead to save money on motoring

Are you sick of feeling like you’re always running back and forth between appointments, work, hobbies and endless visits to the shops? Then this money-saving motoring eco-hack is for you (and it’s our fave).

Planning your time in the car to combine trips where possible could not only save your sanity but is great for affordable driving too. It’s so simple but just as easy to overlook.

  • Combine and conquer. Consider how you can do what you need to do with minimal stops. Need to grab milk, drop into the chemist and pick up a bottle of wine? Go to a shopping centre that’ll let you do all this stuff in one stop.
  • Plot your route. Use Google Maps to take the shortest possible route to your destination/s and avoid the traffic when travelling at peak times. It automatically calculates your route based on congestion and helps you avoid it.

Using these approaches to driving means you’ll know where you’re going, what you’re doing and how to achieve your goals in the shortest amount of time and distance possible. That leaves you more time and energy for other important things in life.

Besides saving time and money on your actual driving, having comprehensive car insurance is another great way to achieve an affordable driving lifestyle. It helps you pay for a range of unexpected costs like fire, hail and storm damage, theft and accident to name some.

Travelling with others to group activities such as work, the gym, dinner or catch ups will save you on parking and petrol.

4. Save money on motoring by carpooling like a pro

This is a no-brainer, right? Travelling with others to group activities such as work, the gym, dinner or catch ups will save you on parking and petrol. And for the fun stuff you can take turns being the designated driver.

Want to take it one step further? Arrange to pick up your friend from the main road to avoid zigzagging through residential streets, making the trip faster (and more economical) for everyone.

Considering using a ride sharing service instead? The ease of these services, like Ola, DiDi and Uber, has made them a popular alternative to public transport. But research suggests that in built up areas (where buses and trains are in abundance) these services have caused an increase of drivers on the roads, meaning there’s more congestion and more emissions in our air.

Think before you book that next ride share. If you don’t have an alternative, consider combining your trips and splitting the bill with friends or others through options like UberPool.

Red electric car being charged.

5. Learn how to compare electric cars before you buy

Electric cars are the pièce de résistance of sustainable options, but their price and the tech has made them inaccessible for many who want to save money on motoring. Car manufacturers are refining their tech and listening to us though and they’ve come a long way.

So, how do you know which is the best electric car for you?

Electric car FAQ

Let’s tackle some common questions. When comparing types of electric vehicles, your considerations should include the following:

  1. How many kilometres will I get out of a single battery charge?
  2. How quickly does the battery charge at home?
  3. Is there a fast charge option?
  4. How much will it cost to charge my vehicle?
  5. Can I upgrade the battery to one with larger Kwh/longer range?
  6. How long is the battery expected to last?
  7. What kind of manufacturer’s warranty does the car come with?

If you’re like the average Australian and your normal, round-town trip falls within the 20km range and you rarely go on long road trips (or have access to another car when you do), then an electric car might be perfect for you. Here are more electric car questions to help you make smart decisions.

electric cars at a solar powered charging station are a great way to save money on motoring

6. Maintain proper tyre pressure

Under-inflated tyres might not be immediately obvious, but they pose a silent threat to your eco-friendly car’s efficiency. They increase rolling resistance, effectively making your vehicle work harder to move. This in turn results in higher fuel consumption.

The remedy?

It’s as simple as regularly checking and maintaining the tyre pressure recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Doing this not only ensures your car operates at peak efficiency but also take a greener step toward reducing your carbon footprint. It’ll also help you save money on motoring.

Unconvinced? Read why tyre pressure is so important.

Woman enjoying a sunset from her car, while save money on motoring with economical driving practices during an Australian road trip

7. How you drive can save money on motoring

We all enjoy an adrenaline pumping drive from time to time, but aggressive driving behaviours can wreak havoc. We’re talking about rapid acceleration, hard braking, and excessive speeding.

Check out which Australian state has the worst drivers and see where you fit in.

Aggressive driving behaviours not only jeopardise the safety of road users but also wreak havoc on your fuel efficiency and emissions output. If you’re looking to save money on motoring by making your eco-friendlier then it’s time to lean towards a more composed and fuel-efficient driving style.

How is this achieved? Simply drive like a smooth operator…

Affordable driving in style

Seemingly small changes in your driving habits can lead to major benefits. You’ll get better fuel mileage; in turn you’ll save money on motoring. You’ll also minimise the harmful emissions your ride releases into the environment.

Here’s how to go about this…

  • Acceleration. Stick to gradual acceleration instead of pedal-to-the-metal bursts.
  • Braking. Start coasting to stops instead of slamming on the brakes and obey ALL speed limits.

Who said it wasn’t easy being green? If you’ve ever felt guilty about the negative effect your car has on the environment, hopefully the above budget-friendly tips will help turn your car into an eco-friendly ride.

Here’s a breakdown of five defensive driving skills that are good for your safety and your fuel usage.

To save money on motoring and be more eco-friendly, this red car avoids rapid acceleration in Melbourne.

More tips to save you money on motoring

Now that you’ve got these seven top tips on how to save money driving, read the partner piece to this article, on improving fuel efficiency. And here are more ways to make affordable driving choices:

  1. Renewing Car Insurance? Find Ways to Save on Your Next Premium
  2. Use this Car Servicing Checklist to Get What You Paid For
  3. How to Fix a Punctured Tyre with Sealant or a Repair Kit
  4. The Most Fuel Efficient Cars in Australia
  5. How to Check the Oil in Your Car
  6. Car Maintenance Tips You Should Know (But Don’t??)
  7. How to Protect Your Car from Sun and Salt Damage

8. Save money on your motoring insurance

Why not check out PD Insurance while you’re making some wallet-friendly and eco-friendly changes to your car? With our three award winning car insurance plans, you can choose the best option to help save money on motoring.

Choose the cover that suits your driving lifestyle and your pocket. Our cover can help you pay the costs of replacing or repairing your car after accidental damage. This includes a wide range of benefits, like towing and hire car after incident and much more.

Click below to get a quote today.

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