06 Apr
How does driving in the North Island and South Island differ?

South Island or North Island: Where can you be more fuel efficient?

It's an old rivalry in New Zealand. North Island versus South Island, Te Ika a Maui up against Te Waipounamu. While they're both part of the same country, these two islands are incredibly different in both culture, population and… fuel efficiency.

It might not be quite as exciting as the usual arguments between Northerners and Southerners, but the two islands introduce some very different challenges when it comes to remaining fuel efficient. While both islands have access to fuel cards to make the most of people's petrol budgets, it's still wise to remain aware of the differences in driving conditions between these regions – and, of course, how to overcome them.

New Zealand is a country of two halves - very different halves.New Zealand is a country of two halves – two very different halves.

North Island

Let's start with the North Island. This is the country of rolling hills, though there are still a few genuine mountains here and there – about 20 per cent of the land area is made up of mountain ranges, according to the New Zealand government. The North Island is so well-known for its rolling hills, in fact, that the town of Matamata was famously chosen as the set for the idyllic Shire from the Lord of the Rings.

Hobbits aren't exactly known for their usage of vehicles, however, so on to more practical matters. What this environment means for drivers is that they will face plenty of short uphill and downhill driving. This can prove an issue for fuel efficiency, with Volvo describing how these kind of circumstances can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 50 per cent for some vehicles.

The key here is to make sure that you ease off the accelerator down the hills and don't stress your engine climbing back up them – this way, you'll save fuel on the downhills without expending too much on the uphills.

South Island

These longer mountain roads offer the opportunity to conserve momentum.

South Island is a gorgeous island with a huge amount of mountainous terrain. About 60 per cent of the land area is covered by mountain ranges, says the NZ government.

For drivers, this presents a similar but slightly different situation to North Island drivers. These longer mountain roads offer the opportunity to conserve momentum without the rapid stops and starts that some parts of the North Island offer. While you are still climbing and descending hills, try to conserve your speed both downhill and uphill. This may mean carefully adjusting your acceleration and braking habits, but after a while it will become second nature.

Ultimately, one of the best ways for fleet managers to make the most of their fuel budgets is to use a fuel card. Find out your options whichever island you are on by getting in contact with Card Smart today!