It is not a question of how much you use a vehicle but how much fuel it produces, according to a new study.
The study found that people using petrol and diesel cars produce about 50 per cent less fuel than people who use less expensive vehicles.
It said the results showed that people who drive fewer miles on a single tank of petrol and one-third of a litre of diesel could save $100 per year on their petrol bill.
The results came from a survey of 1,500 people aged between 18 and 49.
The survey showed that drivers who drive a diesel vehicle and use petrol less often had a fuel savings of $120 per year.
The fuel savings was not much less when they drove a diesel car with a fuel economy of 30km/h or less.
This meant people who had a diesel engine had the best fuel savings at $1,250 a year.
Dr James White from the University of Sydney said the findings could have implications for the future of the petrol and gas industry.
“If we are going to be more efficient, then we need to use the best possible fuel,” he said.
“The best fuel is what we can get for our money.”
Dr White said a number of studies had shown that people had an incentive to drive less and therefore save money.
“People who drive less often have less fuel consumption,” he added.
“We’ve got to change that behaviour.”
The researchers said the data suggested that the people who drove less often could also drive less efficiently.
The report showed that for each dollar spent on fuel, drivers could save a total of $6.85.
But they could also save $60 if they had more fuel to burn.
The average savings per person on a typical petrol or diesel vehicle was $3.20 per year, and $6 per year for a diesel motor.
For comparison, for the average car owner, the average annual fuel savings per year was $1.93 per year per person.
Dr White was concerned about how the fuel savings could be used.
“I think it is a bit like a bonus,” he told ABC Radio National.
“You might save more, but you might have to pay more tax on it.”
He said that when people drive more, it could be more expensive to fuel.
“It could cost more to get to the petrol station, and so it could make the car cheaper, but in the long term it would be a cost that people would be able to offset,” he warned.