Following further hefty fuel price increases this month, South African motorists have to find savvy ways to save fuel and money.
“While the speed you drive is arguably the most significant factor affecting fuel consumption, there are a number of other ways you can change your driving habits that will have a substantial impact on the money you spend at the pump,” explains Dean Horn – Super Tyres Managing Director.
1. Keep tabs on tyre pressure
Make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure as underinflated and/or overinflated tyres adversely affect fuel economy. Approximately 20 percent of fuel goes towards overcoming friction between the tyres and the road, therefore ensure you have your tyres checked to help prevent unnecessary spending at the pumps.
2. Maintain your vehicle
A car can burn up to 30% more fuel if regular maintenance is not performed. Things like worn spark plugs, worn rings, faulty injectors, sticky brakes, dirty oil and dirty filters all add up to engine inefficiency which leads to increased fuel consumption.
3. Be wheel wise
Check your car’s wheel alignment. Bad wheel alignment causes more friction which takes more power to overcome and results in higher fuel consumption. It is also important to rotate your tyres regularly to help extend the life of your tyres and improve performance. It is advisable to rotate and balance your tyres, and have wheel alignment done every 10,000 Km.
4. Gentle right foot
Excessive speed is the biggest fuel-consuming factor so having a light right foot and ensuring all acceleration is gentle is important to fuel-efficient driving. The best advice is to drive at the lowest speed in the highest gear that the road and traffic conditions allow without labouring the engine.
5. Don’t get dragged down
Don’t leave your roof bars and roof box on unnecessarily because they create wind resistance and cause your car to use more fuel through the ‘drag’ effect. This is increased the faster you drive. An empty roof rack adds approximately 15% drag when driving 120kmh. At the same speed, a roof box adds 39% drag, making your vehicle much less fuel efficient. Driving with an open window also has a similar effect.
6. Combine journeys
Plan ahead and make one round trip rather than several short trips. Once the engine is warm it will operate at its most efficient, whereas several cold starts will increase fuel consumption even though the total mileage could be the same.
“Saving on fuel by keeping your vehicle maintained and adjusting the way you drive may seem like a bit of a hassle, but if you increase your fuel economy by between 20% and 40%, a tank that normally gets you 700km could get you close to 1 000 km. If you are unsure about the condition and safety of your vehicle’s tyres and shocks, get them checked by a tyre specialist for your peace of mind,” concludes Horn.