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Tips to help you save fuel

Tips to help you save fuel

With economists predicting that the price of fuel in South Africa is set to rise steeply this month – and looks set to continue its upward trajectory until the end of the year – motorists face a tough financial journey in the lead up to the December holidays.

 

With economists predicting that the price of fuel in South Africa is set to rise steeply this month – and looks set to continue its upward trajectory until the end of the year – motorists face a tough financial journey in the lead up to the December holidays.

 

With a view to getting the most mileage from a tank of petrol or diesel, here are 10 tips to help you save fuel.

 

  •  Try to eliminate hard acceleration and harsh braking. Concentrate on achieving smooth pull-offs and, when stopping, aim for progressive pull-up.

 

  •  When accelerating, change gear when the rev counter needle indicates that the engine is producing maximum torque – you’ll find the figure listed on your vehicle’s specification sheet. 

 

  • Shift into higher gears quickly and stay in top for a long as possible, since driving in a gear lower than you need wastes fuel. Automatic transmissions will shift up more quickly and smoothly if you ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car has gathered momentum. 

 

  • When cruising, try to keep throttle application steady. On the highway, increasing cruising speed from 90km/h to 120km/h can raise fuel consumption as much as 20%, according to tests conducted in the US. 

 

  • Avoid idling the engine for long periods when caught in traffic jams – it wastes fuel, gets you nowhere and produces unnecessary emissions. If your vehicle is not equipped with an automatic start-stop function, switch off the ignition if you anticipate that your wait will be longer than 30 seconds.

 

  •  Make sure that tyres are inflated in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. Under-inflated tyres increase rolling resistance and will cause fuel consumption to rise. Check tyre pressures at least once a month. Also make sure that the wheels of your vehicle are properly aligned.

 

  • Use the air-conditioner sparingly. If it’s cool enough, air from the flow-through ventilation system should be sufficient to keep the interior temperature comfortable. At low speeds, opening windows will also help to save fuel by reducing the need for air-conditioning. At higher speeds, however, keep windows tightly closed to reduce wind resistance. 

 

  • Have your vehicle serviced regularly in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Dirty air filters will increase fuel consumption, as will dirty oil. 

 

  •  Monitor power accessories. Items that plug into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter can cause the alternator to work harder to provide electrical current, adding load to the engine and in turn increasing fuel consumption.

 

  •  Park in shady areas whenever possible. Besides helping to keep the car cool – reducing the need for air-conditioning – parking in the shade also helps to minimise fuel loss caused by evaporation.

 


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