Here are some simple means to cut your fuel bill other than changing bad driving habits
Ways to save fuel

With pump prices at close to record levels, ways to make every drop of fuel count should be explored.

Many tips have been bandied about and are mostly common sense, such as being light-footed, avoiding jack-rabbit starts and hard braking, and clearing the boot of unnecessary stuff.

There are a few other things you can do to trim your fuel bill.

1. Use a lower-octane fuel

This will yield immediate savings: Switch to a lower-octane fuel.

Ironically, this advice comes from an oil man. Doubly so when the man is from Chevron, which introduced a 100-octane fuel here in 1997, only to withdraw it in 1999.

Mr Greg Engeler, Chevron's regional manger of product engineering, says most modern engines will run happily on 92-octane fuel.

If you have been using 98-octane, switching to 92 will save almost 15 cents a litre, or $300 a year based on average mileage and average fuel consumption here.

He says 92-octane is fine even for direct injection high-compression engines, for instance, Mazda's new CX-5, which has a compression ratio of 13:1.

It is a myth that high-performance engines require high-octane fuel to resist 'knocking'.

Only old, worn or heavily carbonised engines will need higher octane to cope with a higher propensity for knocking.

Which is why, Mr Engeler says, it is important to pick a quality fuel with additives that will help keep engine parts clean.

He adds that it is a bad habit to fill a tank to the brim. The fuel tank has a vapour reservoir attached to it. It is filled with carbon to absorb stray petrol fumes, he explains.

Overfilling causes spillage into this chamber, wasting the fuel and neutralising the carbon.

Other economy experts advise filling just half the tank each time. As each litre of fuel weighs close to 1kg, not filling one half of a 60-litre tank will shave close to 30kg off the laden weight.

It means you will have to tank up more frequently, but it will be another small step towards better fuel economy.

2. Do away with cosmetic features

The other small steps include doing away with 'sporty' features that are mostly cosmetic. These include roof racks (they mess up aerodynamism) and body kits (they add weight).

3. Overinflate your tyres slightly

Mr William Lyou, a veteran economy rally champion who works for Pirelli as a brand promoter, has another couple of uncommon tips.

He says inflating your vehicle tyres by up to 20 per cent above the car manufacturer's recommended level (found on the door sill) will improve economy at no cost.

The only downside is a slight deterioration in ride comfort.

It is only if you exceed the tyre manufacturer's threshold (found on the tyre side-wall) that handling and safety will be compromised, and uneven wear will set in.

4. Turn down the air-conditioning

To improve economy, Mr Lyou adds that it is better to minimise air-conditioning and roll down the windows.

The load that air-conditioning puts on the engine outweighs the aerodynamic gains from having the windows wound up, he says.

But the biggest influence on fuel consumption by far, he notes, is driving behaviour.

Many drivers leave the engine idling for too long, for instance. If possible, switch off the engine if you have to wait more than a minute. Or buy a car with automatic stop-start.

Mr Engeler and Mr Lyou say these steps are small by themselves. But add them all up and the end result will be substantial savings.

Incidentally, Chevron explains that it launched a 100-octane petrol in 1997 to target older cars which were still using leaded petrol (during a transition from leaded to unleaded petrol).

And here is the hard sell: Chevron claims its Caltex fuel additives combust more readily than its rivals'.