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The festive season is but a few weeks away and while any further fuel price increases are yet to be announced, motorists can start making changes to their driving habits to guard against additional costs.
Vishal Premlall, Director of South African Petroleum Retailers Association (SAPRA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), says motorists are already feeling stretched so by adopting fuel saving habits there’s a good chance they can get more mileage for their bucks.
“The first habit to adopt is to accelerate at an even pace in traffic. Short bursts of the accelerator increase fuel consumption. Next, try to drive in a lane which has the least traffic ahead to maintain a constant speed. The engine management system will adjust the most economical settings for the best fuel consumption.”
The first startup after a lengthy stand is the one which has the richest fuel mixture, so prevent harsh acceleration whilst the engine is still cold as this will spike the consumption figure dramatically. “Also don’t idle a cold engine to warm it up, as this will not improve the fuel consumption nor lengthen the life of the engine.”
If you are waiting in heavy traffic, turn off the engine and restart once the traffic starts moving again. Modern engines are now being equipped with this function to aid fuel saving. However, don’t continuously switch on and off as this can drain the battery.
Tyre pressure also has an influence of up to 3% on fuel economy. “Ensure you regularly check your tyre pressure when the tyres are cool and maintain a good tyre pressure. Believe it or not, it can increase your fuel efficiency,” he says.
Premlall also suggests considering car-pooling or public transport and being mindful of using your vehicle less, where possible. “Try and avoid short unnecessary trips with better planning,” he says.
“There are always extra costs before and during the festive season so every cent saved makes a difference. Start now by cutting back on fuel usage and you’ll enjoy the benefits in the weeks ahead.”