Fuel price: 6 ways to save R60

2012-04-03 09:10

London, England - British road users, as here in South Africa, are being hit big-time by fuel price increases so why not hit back with better driving techniques?

The UK's Institute of Advance Motorists is telling drivers there to drive smart rather than stockpile fuel against a feared tanker-drivers' strike; we in SA might not need to stockpile but "driving smart" sounds just as good here to as the fuel price tops R12/litre.


The IAM says many drivers could easily cut consumption by 10% - that, for a normal family car, is about R60 a tank!

AM chief executive Simon Best said: “Green driving techniques can easily improve fuel efficiency by 10%."

So, here are the IAM's easy tips on how to do it...

1. Read the road ahead and try to anticipate what the traffic around you will do, for example at traffic lights, roundabouts and junctions. There’s no use accelerating just to have to brake 50m down the road - both km/l killers.

2. Cruise control is useful and economical for smooth driving on long a long journeys, but turn it off on a long hill.

3. Stick to the speed limit. Reducing speed from 120 to 100km/h can save a litre of petrol every 100km.

4. Switch off your engine if you're going to stop for more than a 30 seconds; some cars have this feature installed so consider buying one.

5. Lighten up - and not just on your aggressive driving. Junk in the boot (leave your golf clubs at home!), a roof rack or an empty roof-box all increase fuel consumption - the last two cost more and more as drag increases with speed.

6. Check your tyres. Under-inflated tyres will increase fuel consumption by as much as 3% - that, all other things being equal, equates to R18 per tank - and the air is free! Check tyre pressures, before they warm up with driving, at least once a month.

  • Shaun - 2012-04-03 10:36

    If you live in Cape Town travelling in the fast lane of the freeway and holding up the cars behind you, because you want everyone else to "save fuel" by driving to your speed limit, is just causing frustrated road users behind you and wasting more fuel than yourself thats "owning" a permanent momentum in front of you. So the more fuel they waste trying to overtake you, is going to have an effect on you the next time you encounter a fuel hike. - Cheers

      Heinrich - 2012-04-03 13:39

      Agreed, If you are in the right lane you better be driving 120km/h. And NO your speedo is not correct. For most cars you are only driving 120km/h when your speedo is just below 130km/h. Get a gps to make sure you are driving 120km/h and drive 120km/h in the right lane. NOT 90 and NOT 100! Just like saving R60 per tank by the above examples I would like to spend more time and my destinations and less behind slow people in the fast lane.

      Shaun - 2012-04-03 19:48

      Agree with you Heinrich. With any car ones you in motion and you apply braking everytime, your fuel consumption increases. If you stay in motion without having to brake constantly your fuel consumption decreases, because their is not the need to accelerate constantly after applying the brakes. - Cheers

      leander.duplessis - 2012-04-03 20:56

      Dear Shaun. It's called a speed limit not a speed target and there is no such thing as a fast lane. The LIMIT is the same in all lanes. Take a deap breath and ease off the gas you might just live a little longer. Cheers

      Shaun - 2012-04-04 14:34

      Dear Leander. I tried that formula of driving behind one of these "lane hoggers" and at the certian point the person infront slowed down suddenly to view an accident on the other side of the freeway and that forced me to hard brake to avoid me knocking into him. Whilst doing my "emergency stop" the person behind me rammed into me and that caused a "domino effect". So my new car that I owned for 3 days was a total write off. Oh ja the lane hogger drove away "peacefully" as they used to do, on the N1 Cape Town, freeways! - Cheers

  • rossouwc - 2012-04-03 12:19

    thanks for the article. So to save R60 I have to increase my car payment by +- R3000 to buy a new car with the stop/go feature. Let me rush to the closest dealership......

  • jason.dutoit - 2012-04-03 12:22

    changing the way i drive over a whole tank gives me almost 100km extra on a 40l tank in a ford ka 1.3

      jason.dutoit - 2012-04-03 12:23

      oh, and changing the way i drive my a 1000cc fireblade gives me more than 150km extra on an 18l tank

  • winston.mullany - 2012-04-03 12:50

    Save money...bring down the fuel price!

  • Riaan - 2012-04-03 15:08

    Do not fill up and short shift

  • riyaana.pretorius - 2012-04-03 19:20

    Americans pay 3,50 dollars per gallon of petrol. Thats R7,60 per liter. R11,90 - R7,60 = R4,30 less. Why?

  • Jacques - 2012-04-03 20:19

    please dont switch of your car as mentioned. Cars with auto stop start has a higher duty starter motor. If you burnout your starter it will cost you loads... more than fuel you will save!

  • Nico - 2012-04-03 22:09

    I agree with most of the tips above. As stated by Jacques, don't turn off the motor while in traffic, you're likely to just burn out your starter a lot sooner. Buying a car with such a feature? How in any remote way is that saving money? Here are a few more tips: * Plan to leave earlier (example, a formal event), or plan to arrive later, (example, coming home from work). This allows you to drive a lot slower, keep around 80-90 km/h maximum on highway and 60km/h maximum in residential areas. For the impatient, this is unfortunately not for you. It does also mean spending more time on the road... * Gearing is very important. Keeping on 5th (top) gear might not always be the more efficient. Engines are most fuel efficient when the engine power is running as efficient as possible. 40% throttle might give different RPM at different gears, but your still using the same amount of petrol. Gear down and keep revs up in order not to overuse throttle to try and keep up with traffic/get up a hill/etc, while still keeping a constant throttle opening.

      Nico - 2012-04-03 22:11

      * Corners. If you are in clear view of a corner, and there are no obvious things that could suggest a potential accident/near miss/reckless driving, try and take a corner SLIGHTLY faster in order for you not to apply as much throttle to get back to your cruising speed after braking. Recommended for more 'advanced' drivers only. * Taking a long time to get to cruising speed is not always the best fuel saving technique. Taking a shorter time to reach cruising speed means that fuel can be saved quicker. However, racing to cruising speeds doesn't help either. Provide moderate acceleration to get to cruising speed. I'm currently achieving 7.5l/100km on a recently purchased Renault Sandero 1.6 8v. This has mostly been in traffic/urban driving. I'm pretty sure I can get lower than 7.0l/100km's with more highway driving. I honestly don't think it's bad for an engine designed nearly 20 years ago with practically no fuel saving features. (K7M - 8v model comes from as far as 1995 from Renault Megane / Renault Megane, according to Wiki...) This does not really apply to more expensive cars of R250 000+. With the amount of money you are paying on your car every month, you probably don't care about a 70c/litre increase in fuel. Regardless of what happens, at the end of the day, changing your driving style will be the biggest contribution to saving fuel.

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