A new RAC survey has revealed nearly one in two Western Australian motorists have struggled to pay for fuel in the past year, with many using their vehicles less to save money.

The survey of RAC members shows 46 per cent of motorists have found it difficult to pay for fuel at least a few times in the past 12 months — with nearly 20 per cent of drivers under the age of 30 struggling every month to refuel. 

RAC General Manager Corporate Affairs Will Golsby said fuel is a contributing factor to the rising cost of transport in WA.

“It’s clear WA motorists are under the pump, with two in every five we surveyed saying they’re using their cars less than they were 12 months ago, as a way to save money on fuel,” Mr Golsby said.

“Transport is one of the biggest ongoing expenses for households which continue to face growing financial pressures just to move around WA.

“According to the Australian Automobile Association’s Transport Affordability Index, the average WA household is now spending more than $18,000 a year on transport — or nearly $350 every week.”

The survey also found 95 per cent of respondents are finding other ways to reduce their fuel costs — including checking Fuel Watch, comparing prices at local fuel stations and using member discounts and shopper dockets.

“Price is the biggest factor for motorists when deciding where and when to refuel, and by choosing the right time and place, you can save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.

“We encourage motorists to subscribe to Fuel Watch alerts to ensure they’re filling up on the cheapest day of the week, typically Mondays, and at the cheapest station near them — there are always plenty of retailers selling fuel well below the average.

“You can also reduce your fuel use by changing the way you drive, such as using your cruise control, avoiding unnecessary acceleration and heavy braking, and removing weight and roof racks from your vehicle.”

RAC’s tips to save on fuel: 

  • Beat the cycle: Visit the Fuel Watch website and subscribe to alerts to ensure you are getting the best price.
  • If your car has cruise control, use it to maintain a steady speed.
  • Avoid unnecessary acceleration and heavy braking, as this increases fuel use dramatically. Look ahead to anticipate the flow of the traffic so you can adjust your speed early and reduce the need for heavy braking.
  • Use the economy mode on an automatic transmission if it is available.
  • Don’t allow your engine to sit idle for long periods of time.
  • Make sure your wheels are aligned and your tyres are at the correct pressure. Low pressure increases rolling resistance and fuel use.
  • Remove unnecessary weight and roof racks – carrying unnecessary extra loads can dramatically increase fuel consumption.
  • Be sure to service your car regularly.

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RAC Media Contact: Caitlin Barr, 0401 703 719 or media@rac.com.au