Holiday trip: 9 fuel-saving tips

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 BE FRUGAL: A well-maintained vehicle and great driving habits can reduce your fuel consumption dramatically. Image: SHUTTERSTOCK ~ Shutterstock
As millions of South African take to the roads this holiday season it’s important to find way to save fuel and drive more efficiently. Check out our 9 fuel-saving tips!

South Africans embarking on holiday journeys this festive season should remember that crashes are the second-leading cause of unnatural deaths in South Africa.

In January 2013 the SA Police Services (SAPS) estimated that approximately 1465 people lost their lives over the 2012 holiday period.

DEADLY ROADS

According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), the following four roads are the most deadly in South Africa especially during the holiday season:

•    The R61, which leads onto the N2 in the Eastern Cape
•    The R573 Moloto Road between Pretoria and KwaMhlanga in Mpumalanga
•    The N1 northbound and southbound in Limpopo to and from Musina
•    The N3 in KwaZulu-Natal between Mooi River and Durban.

With rising fuel costs it’s imperative to find ways to fuel efficient and save your hard-earned Rands.

Caltex shares the following fuel-saving tips:

1 SLOW DOWN
Aerodynamic drag forces cause an engine to work harder and use more fuel. By simply decreasing your freeway speed you can improve your fuel economy.

2 DRIVE SENSIBLY
Quick accelerations might get you off the line faster but they will empty your fuel tank just as fast.  Engines require the most fuel when accelerating from a full stop, so apply speed moderately.

3 PLAN YOUR TRIPS
If you're going out on an errand run, plan all of your stops ahead of time to avoid unnecessary driving. Try not to drive during rush hour as constant stopping and idling can increase fuel consumption.

4 LIMIT YOUR AIRCON USE
The air-conditioning unit contains a compressor pump driven by your engine. When the aircon is used, the compressor draws power from the engine, increasing the work it has to do and using more fuel.

5 SERVICE YOUR CAR REGULARLY
Good vehicle maintenance can lead to reduced fuel consumption.  Make sure your wheel alignment and balancing are correct and that your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure.

6 CHECK YOUR TYRES
Not only are under-inflated tyres dangerous but they can increase your fuel consumption. Keep your tyres inflated to the recommended pressure.

7 EMPTY YOUR BOOT
Does your boot double as a mobile storage facility? All that extra weight requires extra power, which means more fuel for your engine.

8 REDUCE REVS
Driving in low gears and at a speed increases engine revolutions and wastes fuel.  Drive in a gear with the lowest revolution per minute (rpm) for the condition of the road but be careful to avoid stalling the engine.

9 AVOID IDLING
Unnecessary idling is one of the most common ways of wasting fuel. During lengthy idling of periods, switching off your engine will help reduce fuel consumption.