Ongoing petrol hikes have fueled motorists with frustration, and yep, the pun was intended. And to make matters worse, fuel levies have been added to the mix as well. Petrol prices have soared since 2020. That alone is quite shocking to most of us. And it’s leaving us motorists shaking our heads in despair.
So, what can we do about the fuel monster? The one that likes eating away at our wallet every time we fill up. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our top 10 petrol saving hacks…
The South African Minister of Finance recently announced that there will be a few hidden costs lurking in our pumps. And unfortunately, these costs will keep feeding the fuel monster over the next following months.
So, what are new prices?
The price of 93 octane petrol increased by 28c/litre.
95 octane petrol increased by 36c/litre on Wednesday (6 April), despite an intervention by the National Treasury to reduce the cost of fuel by more than R1/litre by cutting the General Fuel Levy (GFL).
The price of diesel fuel increased by between R1.52/l and R1.69/litre.
Which means we’ll have to be smart about our cars. And stop fueling the monster!
1. Regular checks
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to manage how much petrol you use, is with regular oil changes.
Change your oil on time and make sure you use the correct oil for your car. If you don’t know which oil to use, check in with your vehicle manufacturer or page through your manual. You can improve your distance covered per tank by 1-2% by just using the correct oil. Look for oil that has “Energy Conserving” additives, to get the most out of this hack.
A vehicle that requires some engine maintenance will burn fuel faster. Simply replacing the air filter may save you whooping 10% on your fuel costs. Fixing serious engine problems, like a damaged oxygen sensor, could improve the vehicle performance by 40%.
2. Don’t fill the tank to the top
Don’t fill your tank to the top. This might seem slightly silly, but by doing this you’re paying for something you’ll never use. The car must deal with any excess fuel, and it does that by pushing vapor into the engine. Over time the vehicle will have to work harder, resulting in high fuel emissions.
Find out how big your fuel tank is and stop the pump just before the pump automatically switches off.
3. Plan out your route
Your engine will burn fuel faster when you’re constantly in a stop and go motion. A car runs smoother and more economically when the vehicle is in consistent motion. Turning your engine off for 30 seconds is better than leaving the engine running while in traffic.
We suggest that you skip the morning traffic by leaving earlier. Arriving at work earlier will also give a head start to the day, that’s two hacks for the price of one.
4. Watch your speed
Leave the speeding for the professionals. Using your gas pedal aggressively means you will use a lot more fuel in the long run. Dropping your average speed by 20km/h will significantly reduce your fuel consumption by 10%.
5. Be smart with your air con
Using your air conditioner is not a bad thing, just use it smartly. As a rule of thumb drive with your windows open when driving less than 80km/h. And only use your air con when driving on the highway. Driving with all the windows up will cause less wind resistance and be more fuel efficient.
6. Buddy-up and carpool
An oldie, but a goodie. Travel with a co-worker who lives in your area. Alternate between drives and minimize car usage.
7.Check your tyre pressure
If you don’t know what your tyre pressure should be, check your manual for some assistance. It is important that you fill your tyres to their maximum limit. When they’re under-inflated, they’ll burn fuel and wear out the tread a lot quicker. Not only that, exceeding the limit with under inflated tyres could be dangerous in bad weather conditions.
Check your tyre pressure monthly. And always before a long trip.
8. Don’t add redundant weight to your car
The heavier your car is, the more fuel it’s going to need to keep going. Leaving tennis rackets, golf clubs, music equipment or bikes in the back of your car is unnecessary.
Not only does it eat more fuel, leaving your possessions in the car might put them at risk of being stolen.
9. Don’t take unnecessary trips
We have become so used to driving everywhere. But cutting down on unnecessary trips, can make a big difference. Walking, riding a bike or making use of public transport like The MiCity Bus or Gautrain are great alternatives.
The next time you think about making a trip for bread and milk, think about how much fuel that trip is going to use. If you plan little things like quick trips to the shop better, it could make a massive difference at the end of the month.
10. Embrace the higher gears
Your car will use less fuel when driving around town in a higher gear. Use the highest gear possible without straining the engine. Instead of driving around in second gear for a while, move up to third.
Until fuel prices start to come down, or at least stabilise, we need to do what we can to keep unnecessary costs down. And as the year progresses, we’ll be spending more on fuel and less on the things that matter most to us.
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