How to squeeze the most kilometres from your petrol tank

15 October 2019 - 11:22 By Motoring Reporter
With the price of petrol rising monthly, these tips can help you get the most out of your tank and save you money.
With the price of petrol rising monthly, these tips can help you get the most out of your tank and save you money.
Image: Gergely Zsolnai / 123rf

The recent petrol price hike marks the eighth official increase for South Africans this year. Unfortunately, the hikes are beyond our control, but one thing consumers can consider to save money is buying a fuel-efficient vehicle. Practising good driving habits is another.  

The upcoming five-day WesBank Fuel Economy Tour, in partnership with FNB, will provide motorists with definitive car fuel consumption figures among a selection of car brands, as well as recommended travelling times between the country's major centres to help motorists get more value from a tank of fuel.

The tour, planned for standard production passenger cars and light commercials, is scheduled to take place from November 12 to 16 2019. It will involve a five-day drive on major roads from Johannesburg to Cape Town, via Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, and George, with a total distance of 2,500km.

“The tour is dedicated to obtaining realistic fuel consumption figures over a significant distance on roads well-travelled by South African motorists and transport companies, thus it is important for us to partake in this tour, which is ultimately to the benefit of the consumer”, said WesBank head of Motor, Ghana Msibi.

WesBank suggests the following to help motorists be greener and more fuel-efficient drivers.

1 Drive smoothly

Aggressive driving, such as rapid acceleration, speeding and braking, can lower your fuel mileage significantly. So, accelerate smoothly, brake softer and earlier, and stay in one lane while it’s safe to do so. Not only do these driving techniques save fuel, they also prolong the life of your brakes and tyres. 

2 Slow down

Speeding wastes fuel. Aim for a constant speed. Driving at 90km/h instead of 100km/h can improve your fuel efficiency by 10 to 15%. Pumping the accelerator sends more fuel into the engine, emptying the tank faster.

3 No idling

Today's engines don't need a warm-up. Start the car immediately and gently drive away. Don’t leave your car idling. Prolonged idling increases emissions and wastes fuel. Turn the engine off whenever it is safe to do so, such as when stationary for more than 30 seconds. This avoids unnecessary energy consumption.

4 Remove unnecessary cargo

Reducing the amount of cargo you keep in your boot or on your back seat can improve your fuel efficiency, as less energy is needed for acceleration. Try to travel as light as possible, keep only the most important items (like an emergency kit, jumper cables, a small toolset and a small jack) in the vehicle.

5 Only use A/C on the highway

Your fuel economy drops by up to 15% when you use the air conditioner at low speeds. So, if it isn’t too hot, turn off the air conditioner and roll down your windows instead. However, at 90km/h or higher, using the air conditioner is preferable to opening window,s because your vehicle has much lower wind resistance with the windows closed. Because the engine produces more power at higher revs, it is able to run accessories like the A/C compressor more efficiently.

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