By Emsie Martin
It is time again for consumers to delve into their pockets as fuel is now going to cost motorists in the interior R16,67 a litre. All of us have to travel, but perhaps the time has now come to give ways of saving fuel some serious thought.
- Car pools are by far the best defence against rising transport costs. At the same time it saves wear and tear on your car. Even if you are only two people in the pool, you can cut your fuel costs in half.
- Plan your outings and shopping (make a list) so that you can do everything situated in one area at the same time without having to go back to the same place because you have forgotten something.
- Do not speed. The faster you drive, the more fuel you use. Rather drive at 5 km/h below the speed limit; this will also prevent you from getting unnecessary traffic fines.
- Do not charge up to vehicles in front of you. It wastes fuel. Rather drive slowly and evenly.
- Accelerate evenly. Flooring the accelerator guzzles fuel.
- Do not drive with your foot on the clutch and brakes all the time. It increases fuel consumption and wear and tear.
- Keep a manual transmission car in the highest gear possible without putting strain on the engine.
- Keep windows closed on the open road. Open windows create resistance, which could increase fuel consumption by up to one fifth.
- By switching off the air-conditioner when you don’t really need it, you can save up to 10% on fuel.
- Do not cart around unnecessary baggage such as golf clubs, an extra pram or bottles for recycling. The heavier the load, the more fuel you use.
- Have the car serviced regularly. This will enhance your vehicle’s efficiency.
- Check the tyre pressure. Tyres that are not hard enough will increase your fuel consumption and could also be dangerous.
- Lower the air resistance. If you don’t use the roof carrier or roof tent on your vehicle every day, it will be better to remove them to lower fuel consumption.
- Stay in a low gear on an incline. Do not overstrain your engine by staying in a high gear. A low gear keeps the engine speed up and uses less fuel.
Other hints by Chris Faulkner, CEO of the Breitling Energy Corporation in Texas in the USA:
- Park in shade – petrol evaporates out of your fuel tank and will evaporate faster if you park in the sun. If you park in shade the temperature inside your car will also be lower and you won’t have to use the air-conditioner so much when you get back on the road again. To further lower evaporation, make sure that the petrol cap is airtight and buy petrol during the cooler parts of the day (preferably early in the morning or in the evening.
- Switch off your car if you have to queue for longer than a minute. You use more fuel while the engine is idling than when restarting the car.
- Consider buying a more fuel-efficient car – a diesel or a hybrid car – and rent fuel-efficient cars when you travel.
- Finally, fasten your seatbelt before you start the engine to save a few seconds of engine use.
Remember, each little bit helps to lower your fuel consumption.