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10 fuel saving tips ahead of the June price hike

31 May 2018 - 15:43 By Timeslive
The AA predicited that petrol could rise by up to 85 cents a litre and diesel by 87 cents.
The AA predicited that petrol could rise by up to 85 cents a litre and diesel by 87 cents.
Image: Elvis Ntombela

Savvy driving and keeping your car in tiptop condition can help you ride out surging fuel prices.

A South African insurer has calculated that if you fill up 48 times a year at R700 per tank‚ a 40% reduction in fuel consumption through savvy driving could save you more than R13‚000 a year.

“People often underestimate the impact that their driving habits have on fuel consumption‚ but minor tweaks can help protect your pocket at the pump‚” said Susan Steward‚ marketing manager of Budget Insurance.

With the Automobile Association (AA) on Thursday predicting that petrol could rise by up to 85 cents a litre and diesel by 87 cents next month‚ here are the top tips on reducing fuel consumption compiled by the insurance company:

1. Align and inflate – Incorrect wheel alignment and underinflated tyres leads to increased resistance between the tyres and the road‚ which in turn leads to higher fuel consumption‚ as well as increased wear and tear on tyres. Check your tyre pressure at least once a month. Alignment should be checked at least once a year‚ but a check every six months‚ or after incidents like hitting a pothole or curb‚ is advisable.

2. Smooth and steady – Every harsh brake and acceleration guzzles fuel. Keep a safe following distance and avoid speeding off from a green traffic light. Your fuel tank‚ and pocket‚ will thank you.

3. Squash the need for speed – High speeds result in high fuel consumption. It’s as simple as that. At 110km/h your car uses up to 25% more fuel than it would cruising at a more moderate 90km/h.

4. Hike it up a gear – as a rule of thumb: the higher the gear‚ the lower the petrol consumption‚ so always drive in the highest gear possible‚ without straining the engine by letting the revs drop too low.

5. Don’t be a drag – there are many things that cause or increase drag‚ including: driving with the windows open and attaching carriers or bikes to the roof. To decrease drag‚ keep the windows closed‚ especially at high speeds‚ and attach additional weight to the rear of the car instead of the roof.

6. Air-con control – did you know that your car uses more fuel powering your air-con when you’re travelling at low speed and less at a higher speed? This is because the higher the revs‚ the more power the engine produces‚ allowing it to run the air-con more efficiently. If you’re driving a short distance‚ and travelling at a lower speed (under 80km/h)‚ open the window instead of switching on the air-con.

7. Have that health check – many components in your car impact fuel consumption and if they’re not working properly‚ you could be paying a hefty price. Everything from dirty oil and dirty air filters to dirty injectors‚ a faulty exhaust‚ worn spark plugs and low coolant levels can contribute to bad fuel efficiency so make sure they all get a regular check-up.

8. Practice patience – if you can avoid major congestion‚ do. It will end up saving you time‚ frustration and‚ of course‚ fuel. If you can’t wait‚ use the technology at your fingertips by checking alternative‚ less congested routes‚ on traffic apps like Waze.

9. Team up and tap out – joining a lift club is not only a great way to save fuel and reduce wear and tear on your car‚ it can also be a great stress reliever‚ giving you the freedom to relax while someone else is driving.

10. Switch on and go – there’s nothing like a warm car on a cold winter morning but that time spent idling while your car warms up is costing you money. Don’t let your car idle for much longer than a minute.