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Cruising downhill in neutral will save you petrol? 5 fuel-saving myths

2017-09-14 08:19

Image: iStock

Johannesburg - Cash-strapped motorists faced yet another increase in the fuel price in September 2017.

Vishal Premlall, director of the South African Petroleum Retail Association (SAPRA), says the primary reason for this increase can be attributed to the weakening rand against the dollar and the consequent price of crude oil.

He also cautioned that if the price of oil continues with its upward trend, there could be a further increase in the coming months.

SAPRA hopes to dismiss fuel-saving myths in South Africa. 


Do you agree/disagree with SAPRA's list below? What are some of your fuel-saving tips? Email us

Fuel-saving myths: List by SAPRA

1 Gearing into Neutral at stops

Premlall: "This idea may have been relevant when engines used carburettors but today’s cars have computerised fuel-injection systems. By constantly shifting in and out of neutral the only thing you may accomplish is premature wear on your gear box."

2 A full tank is more fuel efficient 

Premlall: "The idea that a tank more full than empty will prevent fuel evaporation inside the tank is incorrect. Fuel systems in modern cars are designed with vapour recovery systems so no evaporation is possible. Some vehicles with pressurised fuel systems even display a ‘check engine’ light if the petrol cap is loose, missing or not properly sealed."

3 A dirty air filter leads to lower mileage

Premlall: "The engines in older vehicles pulled air straight through the air filter into the carburettor, so a clogged filter could affect fuel efficiency to some degree. However today's advanced engines have a computerised engine control module (ECM) to regulate the air-to-fuel ratio. Air goes through the filter and then through a mass airflow sensor that lets the ECM gauge the airflow and adjust the fuel accordingly; less airflow means less fuel is sent to the engine." 

4 Filling up when it’s cooler saves me money

Premlall: "Petrol at filling stations is almost always pumped from storage tanks underground that are naturally insulated from large temperature swings so no truth in this theory." 

5 Cruising downhill in Neutral saves petrol

Premlall: "This is one of the biggest myths thrown around. The truth is that when coasting in Neutral, the engine is idling, consuming just as much petrol as when it's idling at a traffic light or warming up in your driveway." 



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