9 easy ways to slash fuel costs

Published Sep 15, 2023


South Africa is currently facing soaring fuel prices, leaving many motorists feeling the pinch at the pump.

With the cost of fuel continuously on the rise, it's more important than ever to find ways to reduce your vehicle's fuel consumption. Fortunately, there are practical and proven methods that can help you save money on fuel without sacrificing your daily mobility.

1. Maintain Your Vehicle Regularly

Regular vehicle maintenance is key to optimal fuel efficiency. A well-tuned engine and properly inflated tyres can significantly reduce fuel consumption. Make sure to service your vehicle as per the manufacturer's recommendations, paying attention to items such as air filters, spark plugs, and oil changes. Ensuring that your tyres are properly inflated and aligned will also improve fuel efficiency.

2. Drive Smoothly and Responsibly

Aggressive driving habits like rapid acceleration, harsh braking, and speeding can guzzle up fuel at an alarming rate. Instead, aim for a smooth and steady driving style. Accelerate gently, anticipate traffic flow to avoid unnecessary stops, and maintain a consistent speed. Avoiding high speeds on the highway can also save fuel; driving at 100km/h instead of 120km/h can result in significant fuel savings.

3. Reduce Idling Time

Leaving your engine running while parked or idling at traffic lights can waste precious fuel. If you anticipate waiting for more than a minute, it's more efficient to turn off your engine and restart when it's time to move. Modern engines are designed to handle frequent starts without excessive wear.

4. Use Air Conditioning Wisely

Air conditioning can put extra strain on your engine and reduce fuel efficiency. Use it sparingly and consider opening windows when driving at lower speeds. However, at higher speeds, open windows can create drag and reduce fuel efficiency, so it's a good idea to use the air conditioning system on the highway.

5. Reduce Vehicle Weight

Carry only the essentials in your vehicle. Extra weight from unnecessary items can increase fuel consumption. Remove roof racks or carriers when not in use, as they can also create aerodynamic drag and reduce efficiency.

6. Plan Your Journeys Efficiently

Combining errands or planning your routes can reduce the overall distance you need to travel.

Avoid rush hour traffic if possible, as stop-and-go driving can be especially fuel-intensive.

Consider carpooling or using public transport when practical.

7. Choose the Right Fuel

Using the correct grade of fuel recommended for your vehicle by the manufacturer is essential.

Using a higher octane fuel than necessary will not improve performance or fuel economy and will only cost you more.

8. Consider Alternative Transportation

For short trips or daily commutes, consider using a bicycle or walking if possible. This not only reduces fuel consumption but also promotes a healthier lifestyle.

9. Downgrade to a smaller vehicle

Okay, this may not be as easy as the first 8 but it will save you considerably more money.

Downgrading to a smaller vehicle with a smaller engine will mean a lower average fuel consumption, especially if using the vehicle for your daily commute.

The larger the engine size, the more fuel and air can fit inside creating a bigger boom, giving larger engines higher power, on average. As a general rule, larger engines use more fuel and emit more emissions than smaller ones.

By adopting these easy and practical fuel-saving tips, you can mitigate the impact on your wallet while also reducing your carbon footprint. Remember, small changes in driving habits and vehicle maintenance can add up to significant savings over time. So, drive smart, drive efficiently while keeping more money in your pocket.

IOL Environment