Following hefty January fuel price increases with more to follow next month, cash-strapped and Covid-19-battered South Africans have to find innovative ways to save fuel and money.
Bianca de Beer from Dialdirect Insurance says “an average increase of 48 cents per litre is steep on its own, but when coupled with the fact that a 60-litre tank already cost more than R800 to fill up, this places a significant strain on motorists’ wallets”.
She continues: “The good news is that, with a few minor adjustments to your driving habits and with regular car maintenance, you can boost the fuel efficiency of your car by as much as 40%. So, if you fill up 48 times a year at roughly R900 per tank, a 40% reduction in fuel consumption could save you over R17 000 a year.”
And you don’t need to reinvent the wheel in order to start saving. According to Dialdirect, following these tips will go a long way in helping you getting more bang for your buck:
A car can burn up to 30% more fuel if proper maintenance is not performed on a regular schedule. With this in mind, make sure that your car is serviced regularly. Things like worn spark plugs, worn rings, faulty injectors, sticky brakes, low coolant levels, dirty oil, and dirty filters all add up to engine inefficiency, which leads to increased fuel consumption.
Check your car’s wheel alignment. Bad wheel alignment causes more friction, which takes more power to overcome and results in higher fuel consumption.
Check for underinflated tyres, as these, too, increase resistance.
Air con costs a cool buck
Use the air conditioning only when really necessary, as it places additional load on the engine.
Reduce the vehicle’s weight by removing unnecessary items from it and, if you mostly do city driving, consider driving with only half a tank of fuel.
Nice and slow
Don’t speed. The gas-guzzling effects of “stepping on it” are well-known.
Maintain momentum as far as possible by looking and planning ahead, flowing with traffic and timing your approaches to hills, traffic lights and crossings better.
Geared for efficiency
Drive at the lowest speed in the highest gear that the road and traffic conditions allow, without labouring the engine.
Many vehicles have economy settings to optimise performance, throttle response, ride height etc. for maximum fuel efficiency. Use them to your advantage.
Do several tasks on one round trip, as opposed to many shorter ones. This not only limits mileage and the amount of time it takes to get your chores done, but also keeps your vehicle’s engine running at optimal temperature.
Wait out the rush
Battling through traffic not only increases fuel consumption, but also wear and tear on your vehicle’s transmission and brakes.
De Beer concludes: “Saving on fuel by keeping your vehicle in shape and changing the way you drive may seem like a bit of a hassle, but if you increase your fuel economy by 40%, a tank that normally gets you 700 km could get you close to 1 000 km. This translates to almost a tankful of savings for every two times you fill up.”