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Fuel saving tips

The lack of efficient public transport means that most South Africans have to rely on minibus taxis or passenger cars for their daily commute. This means they are all hit in the pocket regularly – often monthly – as the fuel price continues to rise.

Fortunately, the fuel economy of all vehicles has improved measurably over the years with giant leaps in technology; fuel consumption has improved from an average of about 10l/100km in the 1980s to about 6l/100km today.

It is also possible to influence fuel economy by paying attention to the way you drive and the condition of your vehicle.

Here are some tips which will result in improving fuel economy:

  • The most important contributor to saving fuel is the use of your right foot! Use it with care! Don’t accelerate hard from a standstill. Don’t speed up and then brake hard – drive smoothly. This is the secret to unlocking extra kilometres for each litre of fuel. The results will amaze you!
  • Sticking to speed limits will save fuel … and save traffic fines too!
  • Use cruise control whenever possible as this technology accelerates and decelerates the vehicle smoothly.
  • Check your tyre pressures regularly. It only takes a few minutes and having the tyres at the recommended pressure will definitely save fuel. Under-inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption by as much as 6%. You can even increase pressure by 0.3 – 0.5 bar over the recommended pressure.
  • Have your vehicle’s wheel alignment and wheel balance checked annually as out-of-specification alignment and balancing will not only scrub off costly rubber from the tyres but will also increase your car’s rolling resistance and fuel consumption.
  • Give yourself sufficient time to reach your destination so you don’t have to drive fast. Rather leave early. Try to avoid travelling at rush hour as stop-start traffic uses lots of fuel.
  • Plan your route and use navigation apps such as Waze to select the shortest and most hassle-free route to your destination.
  • Have your vehicle serviced according to the manufacturer’s schedule which ensures the correct grade of oil is used and that all engine settings are within specification.
  • Be aware of the fact that air conditioning uses extra fuel so try and limit usage or run the fan at a low speed.
  • Improve fuel economy by removing extra weight – check what’s in your luggage boot – and by taking off roof racks, rooftop boxes and tents when you do not intend using them.
  • Close the windows when driving. An open window will increase drag that can increase fuel consumption by as much as 20%.
  • Use a logbook to record your fuel purchases and kilometres travelled, as well as the fuel consumption figure in litres per 100 kilometres at each fill up. Use these figures as goals and try and improve on them constantly. These figures will also show the benefit of using different driving techniques.