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WATCH: Fuel increase: 6 savvy tips to make your full tank go further

Published Jul 6, 2022

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The price of 95 unleaded petrol will be rising by R2.57 a litre, pushing the price up to R26.09 at the coast and R26.74 inland; 93 unleaded petrol by R2.37, to R26.31 in the inland regions; and diesel by R2.30 (50ppm) and R2.31 (500ppm), says the Department of Mineral Resources.

This, coupled with the increase in the cost of food and basic day-to-day necessities, has left many finding it harder and harder to make ends meet.

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Super Tyres managing director Dean Horn says South African motorists have to find savvy ways to save fuel and money.

"While the speed you drive is arguably the most significant factor affecting fuel consumption, there are a number of other ways you can change your driving habits that will have a substantial impact on the money you spend at the pump," he says.

Six ways to help save fuel and money

Keep tabs on tyre pressure: Make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure as underinflated and/or overinflated tyres adversely affect fuel economy. Approximately 20% of fuel goes towards overcoming friction between the tyres and the road, therefore ensure you have your tyres checked to help prevent unnecessary spending at the pumps.

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Maintain your vehicle: A car can burn up to 30% more fuel if regular maintenance is not performed. Worn spark plugs and rings, faulty injectors, sticky brakes, and dirty oil and filters all add up to engine inefficiency which leads to increased fuel consumption.

Be wheel wise: Check your car’s wheel alignment. Bad wheel alignment causes more friction which takes more power to overcome and results in higher fuel consumption. It is also important to rotate your tyres regularly to help extend the life of your tyres and improve performance. It is advisable to rotate and balance your tyres, and have wheel alignment done every 10 000km.

Gentle right foot: Excessive speed is the biggest fuel-consuming factor, so having a light right foot and ensuring all acceleration is gentle is important to fuel-efficient driving. The best advice is to drive at the lowest speed in the highest gear that the road and traffic conditions allow without labouring the engine.

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Don’t get dragged down: Don’t leave your roof bars and roof box on unnecessarily because they create wind resistance and cause your car to use more fuel through the “drag” effect. This is increased the faster you drive. An empty roof rack adds approximately 15% drag when driving at 120km/h. At the same speed, a roof box adds 39% drag, making your vehicle less fuel efficient. Driving with an open window has a similar effect.

Combine journeys: Plan ahead and make one round trip rather than several short trips. Once the engine is warm, it will operate at its most efficient, whereas several cold starts will increase fuel consumption even though the mileage could be the same.

Horn says saving on fuel by keeping vehicles maintained and making driving adjustments might seem like a bit of a hassle "but if you increase your fuel economy by between 20% and 40%, a tank that normally gets you 700km could get you close to 1 000km“.

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“If you are unsure about the condition and safety of your vehicle’s tyres and shocks, get them checked by a tyre specialist for your peace of mind."

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