Tips to help combat fuel hike

THE petrol price increase which came into effect today, 6 April, is a major blow to all South Africans and their budgets.

“Consumers are already stretched to their financial limits.  The good news is that with a little forethought, planning and minor adjustments to your driving style, you can survive the recent petrol price hike,” says Graham Craggs, spokesperson for Budget Insurance.

First of all, Craggs suggests that motorists get their vehicle’s “health” checked-out, correct any problems and then ensure that their cars are serviced regularly.

“It is very important to keep-up with engine maintenance and service your car regularly. Also make sure that spark plugs and filters are changed according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. If your car is kept in optimal condition, you can reduce petrol costs and save yourself even more money by preventing costly repairs further down the line.

“Ensure that your wheel alignment is correct and that your tyres are properly inflated according to the manufacturer’s specifications. This is because under-inflated tyres offer more road resistance which means that fuel consumption goes up. Unsuitable wheel alignment causes your car to use more power, which also increases the amount of petrol it needs to keep going and, of course, decreases the lifespan of the tyres,” he said.

When it comes to driving for greater fuel-efficiency, Craggs says there are few small changes that motorists can make.

  • Avoid harsh, stop-start driving as this causes your vehicle to guzzle fuel.
  • Don’t speed. High speeds result in high fuel consumption. At 110km/h your car uses up to 25% more petrol than it would cruising at a more moderate 90km/h.
  • Always drive in the highest gear possible without straining your engine.
  • Drive at a constant speed as driving in fits and starts is not economical.
  • Avoid idling for too long or unnecessarily.
  • Don’t drive with the window wide open, especially at high speeds as this causes drag, which causes fuel consumption to go up.
  • Use your air conditioner sparingly. Air cons cause petrol consumption to go up by about 10%. However, at speeds over 80km/h, using your air con is more fuel efficient than driving with your window open.
  • Avoid other on-board electrical devices such as cell phone chargers as these also increase consumption.
  • Remove unnecessary weight. The more a car carries, the more petrol it uses.

“Joining a lift club is another effective way to cut fuel consumption and costs. By commuting to work with just one person you could cut your monthly fuel costs by half, while saving wear and tear on your car,” he said.

“Last but not least, plan your routes so that you can take the shortest route to where you are going and avoid unnecessary travelling. Also, combine as many errands and purposes into one trip as you can rather than taking out your car to run single errands.”


Wanda Daly

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