Economists have predicted a turbulent year ahead for the South African economy amid growing world economic problems, and the devaluation of the Rand against international currencies.
It is going to be rough year, and as we try to make that December salary last to the end of January, there are some things we can do save money, and stretch our Rands a little further.
‘There are some simple tips every motorist can employ to stretch the fuel in their tank, and avoid having to fill up too often. By driving sensibly and following these tips, you may find you can travel further and save some much-needed cash you can use on other essentials,’ the AA said.
Under-inflated tyres increase rolling resistance between your vehicle and the road meaning your vehicle has to work harder to overcome the extra drag, thereby using more fuel. Research has shown that correctly inflated tyres can increase mileage by approximately 3.3%.
Every time you accelerate the engine has to work hard and every time you brake, this energy is lost. Stop-start driving is therefore hard on the engine (and the brakes) and does consume fuel. By planning your route carefully, and using your accelerator more gently, you will improve fuel economy. Accelerating hard, and using high engine speeds, will also drastically impact your consumption. Another tip, if you can manage it, is to avoid rush hour traffic. The long delays in traffic will increase consumption and force you to make more stops at the pumps.
If you are idling for an extended period your vehicle will consume more fuel and expend more emissions. During idling periods of several minutes or more, it’s best to switch off your engine (if it is safe to do so, of course), which will reduce fuel consumption.
Any external additions to your car such as roof boxes and bicycle racks should be taken off when you are not using them. These fixings change the airflow over the vehicle and increase the drag. Open windows and sunroofs also increase air drag over the car requiring extra power from your engine that will lead to increased fuel consumption.
The air-conditioning unit in your car contains a compressor pump driven by the engine. When the air-con is used, the compressor uses power from your engine, thus increasing the work it has do and the amount of fuel it needs to keep going. Switch off your air-con, or use it sparingly, as far as possible to increase the overall mileage of your tank.
Service your vehicle
A badly maintained car will not perform optimally. Poor engine performance means the vehicle will not operate according to the manufacturers guidelines and will result in increased fuel consumption. Keeping your car in good condition means it is working as it should and will only use the fuel it needs. Check if your car has an ‘economy’ setting. If it does, activate it; it will make a difference.
‘Planning your trips and your routes, and sticking to them, is an excellent way of ensuring you only use your vehicle when you need to. Saving a few Rand on your monthly fuel bill may not seem like a lot initially but, if calculated over a year, can amount to a significant saving,’ the AA concluded.