Let’s say you live just 2.5km from the supermarket. Every round trip you don’t make is 5km. If you do that twice a week, you save 10km. Over a year, that’s 500km less driving. An average Australian car uses about one litre for every 10km, so over a year you’ll save 50 litres of petrol, totaling about $75.
Let’s say you’re a rail commuter. If you parked 1500 metres closer to home every day, that’s 15km less driving a week. If you manage it 40 weeks a year, you’ll save about 60 litres of petrol, or about $90. (You’ll also walk 15km a week, which would probably be a real plus for general health.)
Let’s say you commute by car to work, which involves a 15km drive each way. Maybe you can convince the boss to let you work from home once a week. That’s 30km saved, times about 50 weeks – equals 1500km or 150 litres, or $225 saved. You will also get to do around 50 days’ work in your pyjamas, which is therapeutic in its own right.
(Some people don’t have a job compatible with the wholw ‘work-from-home’ concept; some do. However, the best way to get the boss onside with this proposal is to set agreed output targets. Do what’s agreed, to the required standard, and review it regularly so the boss knows you’re kicking a goal while working in your pyjamas… It’s a good idea to be accessible as well because bosses hate it when they assume you’re surfing when you should be working.)
You don’t have to do this with military precision – just concentrate on achieving as many things as possible on every trip out, and eliminate what travel you can. You will cut your fuel consumption, and the savings will start adding up.
You will cut your fuel consumption by doing this, but you will save more than just fuel. Some servicing costs – like tyre and brake wear, for example, are directly proportional to how far you drive (all other things being equal). Therefore you’ll save incrementally on service costs as well.
Just bear in mind that this fuel consumption-cutting concept can be taken to absurd extremes.
If you buy a pushbike for $900 and ride it to work instead of driving because you want to cut fuel consumption/save money (same thing) that $900 would buy 600 litres of fuel – enough to drive 6000km. In this case, if you ride 20km a day instead of driving, times five days a week, it will be 60 weeks before you save one dollar – not including the cost of servicing the bike (tyres, brakes, etc.) But you could be a lot fitter. If a car doesn’t clean you up.
Here’s a last absurd example: Let’s say you live 5km from the supermarket.
a) Drive there and back in air conditioned comfort in 10-12 minutes of total driving time, at a cost of about $1.50 in petrol.
b) Walk there with your wheelbarrow, park the barrow, load up the groceries and – wait for it – run back (because otherwise the icecream will melt and the chicken will go off). At the end of this concerted effort you’ll have saved $1.50.
If you just ticked ‘b’ above, cue the Looney Tunes theme…