The Driving Experience

Let BP help you plan a safe and fuel smart trip so that you and your family can enjoy a greater driving experience.

Playing it safe

Customer safety is of paramount concern to BP. Keeping safe when you visit a service station is mostly common sense. Here are some things to remember:

Don't Smoke

Petrol is a volatile, highly flammable liquid that gives off vapours, so it is important never to smoke, light a match or stub a cigarette out on the forecourt, especially around pumps or fuel containers, or leave cigarettes burning in your car’s ashtray.

Turn off your engine before filling it up

If you leave your engine running, electrical leaks from old spark plug leads or other electrical wires can cause a spark. Such sparks can be hazardous, especially if you are filling up with petrol at the time.

Walk with your children

When walking with young children to a service station’s bathroom or shop, remember the forecourt can be busy – just like the roads. For their safety and your peace of mind, always walk with your children across the forecourt.

If you stop at a service station and leave young children on their own in the car, remove your car keys – to avoid temptation for little fingers.

Don’t ask your children to operate the petrol or LPG pumps. It is against the law for children under 15 to do so, even under adult supervision.

Don't use your mobile phone

If you drop your mobile phone, a spark can be produced when the batteries are knocked loose. This could be hazardous, because of flammable vapours on forecourts.

It is recommended that you do not use cellular or radio phones on forecourts. If you need to make a call, most service stations have a public pay phone.

Turn off your boat or caravan’s pilot light

Many boats or caravans have gas-powered fridges. Whenever possible, turn the pilot light off before arriving at the service station.

Get off your motorbike when refuelling

Keeping your motorbike steady is crucial when refuelling. This is because the risk of splashing fuel on the motorbike and the rider is higher if the bike moves. And because the fuel tank is so close to the engine on a motorbike, the risk of ignition is higher. 

This could happen if the rider is distracted and inadvertently pulls the nozzle out of the tank before the trigger is released. 

Many riders prefer to keep the bike upright rather than propped on the side stand while filling the tank so that they can squeeze in that little bit extra. However it is safer to allow some space in the tank so that if the temperature increases, the fuel can expand without overflowing.

Petrol spills

If fuel is spilt on the forecourt while filling a vehicle tank or container:
  • inform the console operator immediately;
  • do not start your engine until the spill has been cleaned up and the console operator has given you the all clear;
  • do not hose the spill down the drain with water. This is illegal and against BP policy and procedures.
Petroleum products are toxic and an irritant and the vapours can affect customers or staff members. A spark of static electricity could ignite a person’s clothing and cause severe burns. Such a scenario could be deadly if it happened in a car.

Planning a trip

BP wants to help with all your driving and travelling needs: what to see on the way, places to stay, travel guidebooks and of course, BP service stations to help you get there.

Be fuel smart

In order to save money and improve air quality, it is important to be fuel smart. These tips are from the RACV and guide your journey to being smart about fuel.

How to use less fuel

Using less fuel saves you money, and improves air quality. There are lots of ways to reduce the amount of fuel you use. 

Keep your vehicle maintained

If your vehicle is running correctly, it will use less fuel and be more reliable.
  • Keep your vehicle properly tuned and serviced in accordance with the owner's manual.
  • Check engine oil and coolant levels weekly.
  • Check tyre pressures, battery electrolyte and the fluid levels of automatic transmission, brake, clutch, and power-steering monthly.
  • Check for uneven wear of tyres as incorrect wheel alignment will increase the amount of fuel you use.

Drive smoothly

Big savings can be made by driving smoothly. It usually won't take any longer to get where you are going and there will be less wear and tear on your vehicle.
  • Accelerate gently, allowing the vehicle to get to top gear as soon as possible, then maintain a steady speed.
  • Keep an eye on traffic conditions ahead. Anticipate traffic speeds and the next stop.
  • Leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front so that you can avoid constant braking and acceleration.
  • Take advantage of the vehicle's momentum.
  • Plan trips to avoid congested areas and peak hour traffic.
  • Don't rev the engine unnecessarily.
The most efficient speed for driving varies from vehicle to vehicle. However, over 90 km/h, fuel consumption increases dramatically with increases in speed.

The right gear

For manual vehicles:
  • Don't let the engine labour in a gear which is too high or over rev in a gear which is too low.
  • Change up through the gears and into top gear as soon as possible but without accelerating harder than necessary.
In automatic vehicles, ease back slightly on the accelerator once the vehicle reaches cruising speed. This allows the automatic transmission to shift up gears more quickly and smoothly.

Idling

Restarting the engine uses less fuel than idling. If you are not in traffic, switch off the engine when stopped for an extended period of time.

Cold starts

Vehicles are least efficient (and most polluting) when they are cold - at the start of trips. 

To reduce the number of cold starts you make, combine a number of trips into one or walk or cycle the short trips.

Load and resistance

Reducing the load and wind resistance of a vehicle will reduce its fuel use.
  • Remove unnecessary weight from the boot.
  • Use roof racks as a last resort. Remove them and other attachments when not in use.

Air conditioning

The air conditioner can increase fuel consumption by between 5 and 10%, particularly on very hot days. If it is hotter inside your vehicle than outside, drive with the windows down for a few minutes to help cool the vehicle before starting the air conditioning.

Filling up

The best way of reducing fuel consumption is to reduce the amount of driving you do.
  • Plan trips in advance so you can combine a number of trips into one.
  • Share a ride.
  • Take public transport, walk or cycle where it is an option.

Choice of fuels

The type of fuel you use can make a difference for both the environment and fuel consumption. 

Octane
Most cars made since 1986 are intended to operate on regular unleaded petrol which has a 91 octane rating. However, for many newer imported cars, the optimal octane rating is 95 or higher. Check the owner's manual for the optimum fuel for your car. If a higher octane petrol is recommended, using it will help your engine to run efficiently. 

LPG
If properly tuned Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) vehicles emit less carbon dioxide and certain air pollutants than petrol driven cars. And because LPG is not subject to Federal Petroleum Excise, it is much cheaper than petrol. However, as the cost of converting a vehicle to LPG use is significant (up to about $2,000), using LPG may only be economical if you drive a lot of kilometres each year. In general, net savings occur after about 40,000 km. (LPG is subject to GST.)

Motor vehicles and the environment

Emissions from motor vehicle exhausts and the evaporation of fuel are major contributors to air pollution, particularly in urban areas. Pollution discolours the sky and can affect human health. 

By emitting carbon dioxide and other gases, vehicles also contribute to the greenhouse effect (the warming of the Earth due to an increase in gases in the atmosphere).

It's easy to make a positive difference

The good news is that it is easy to make a positive difference. 

By using less fuel you can produce fewer air pollutants and fewer greenhouse gases. And there are lots of ways to use less fuel.