With yet another petrol price increase looming, here are some tips on fuel-efficient driving and car maintenance that will help you stretch your paycheque further. If you own a company with a fleet of cars, it’s a great idea to circulate this article through the workplace to also help in reducing company vehicle fuel expenditure.
It’s as simple as making minor tweaks and changes to your daily driving habits. Here are some key points to help you get started.
- Drive slower:
The faster you drive, the more energy (fuel) is required to maintain speed. If you drive slower, your car will use less energy and overall fuel consumption will be drastically reduced.
Increasing your highway cruising speed from 90km/h to 120km/h can raise fuel consumption as much as 20%. You can improve your fuel mileage 10 – 15% by driving at 90km/h rather than 104km/h.
- Drive smoother:
Aggressive accelerating and braking quickly or unnecessarily can increase fuel consumption by as much as 40%. To reduce fuel consumption, rather accelerate slowly and smoothly. When braking, apply the brakes gently or alternatively take your foot off the accelerator.
- Change gears properly:
Changing gears at the right time can reduce fuel consumption. It’s important to change gears without putting the engine under unnecessary strain. Don’t over rev the engine while changing gears, rather change gears smoothly to reduce fuel consumption.
Change up through the gears and into top gear as soon as possible without accelerating harder than necessary. Driving in a gear lower than you need wastes fuel; so does letting the engine labour in top gear on hills and corners.
- Read the traffic:
Anticipating the traffic and road ahead can reduce fuel consumption. For example, if a traffic light in the distance turns red, don’t speed up to it and brake suddenly to a stop. Rather reduce your speed or coast’ towards the traffic light. Be aware of traffic and the road ahead of you and drive accordingly to improve your fuel efficiency.
- Avoid excessive idling:
Idling consumes fuel. If you are idling for longer than one minute, rather turn your engine off. The amount of fuel used to restart your engine is minimal compared to idling for long periods of time.
- Plan and combine trips:
Planning and combining your everyday driving trips can reduce your overall fuel consumption. A single, combined trip is more economical than several, separate trips.
- Minimise use of air conditioning:
Using a vehicle’s air conditioner on a hot summer day can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10% in city driving. If it’s cool enough, use the flow-through ventilation on your car instead of the air conditioner. At low speeds, opening the window will also reduce fuel consumption by reducing A/C use. At higher speeds, however, using the A/C may be more efficient than the wind resistance from open windows and sunroof.
Later model cars have more efficient air conditioning units, and the fuel saved by shutting down the A/C is not significant. In newer vehicles, roll up the windows and enjoy the A/C during hot weather.
- Reduce drag:
Bicycle racks, roof racks or driving with windows open increases drag which ultimately increases fuel consumption. If you are not using your bicycle or roof rack, rather take it off. Also, rather drive with windows partially open.
- Lose excess weight:
Extra, unnecessary weight in your car can drastically increase fuel consumption. Remove all unnecessary items from your car to improve fuel efficiency. Sorry guys that means no more driving around with those golf clubs 24/7
- Plan a different route:
Use a roadmap (If you are super old school LOL) to plan an easier, less congested route to your destination. Try and avoid heavily congested roads or areas with lots of traffic lights as they will only increase your fuel consumption. I personally would recommend the WAZE app, it offers alternative routes in high traffic situations.
- Maintain your car:
Use the correct motor oil: Make sure that when you top-up your motor oil you use the correct grade motor oil for your particular car. Refer to your owner’s manual to see what motor oil is suitable for your car. At Randburg Midas we stock manufacturer approved motor oil for all makes and models of motor vehicles.
- Use the right fuel:
Using the wrong fuel for your car can impact fuel consumption negatively. Check your owner’s manual to see what fuel your car is designed to use.
- Keep your tyres correctly inflated:
Check your tyre pressure on a regular basis. Poorly inflated tyres contribute significantly to higher fuel consumption. Refer to your owner’s manual to see what tyre pressure is ideal for your car.
We would like to close off by giving a shout out to our friends at News 24. Thanks for the epic article. I am sure it’s going to be greatly appreciated by all our readers.
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