How to save fuel and money in the midst of fuel hikes

Rocky Pretorius

After 2 years of financial hardship because of a global pandemic, already cash-strapped South Africans must now grapple with exorbitant fuel increases. Despite crude oil prices being lower than they were 10 years ago, the government continues to increase fuel prices to record highs. This in turn pushes the price of food and other essential commodities up because of increased transport costs. So what can cash-strapped South Africans do to save fuel and money?

  1. Slow down 

It's no secret that going full throttle on the pedals is going to use a lot more fuel than driving the speed limit. Slow down your average speed and enjoy the fuel-saving benefits of taking it easy on the roads. 

2. Check your tyre pressure 

Both underinflated and overinflated tyres can affect how much fuel your vehicle uses. In fact, almost 20% of your fuel is used up by your vehicle overcoming the friction between your tyres and the road. Regularly checking your tyre pressure is a quick and free way to save a little extra every month. 

3. Service your vehicle 

Poorly maintained vehicles use more fuel than those in tip top shape. If your spark plugs are worn out, your oil is old and dirty or your brakes are faulty, you can use up to 30% more fuel than you would if your car was properly maintained. 

4. Get your wheels balanced 

When your wheels are not aligned, your vehicle must compensate and this in turn causes you to use more fuel. Proper wheel alignment also extends the lifespan of your tyres, so make a note to balance and rotate wheels every 10 000 km. 

5. Plan ahead 

If you’ve got multiple errands to run in one area, do them all on the same days as opposed to going back and forth multiple times. Plan out your journeys and don’t make unnecessary trips. You’ll be surprised how those quick trips to the garage or shops add up when it comes to your fuel gauge.  

6. Don’t overload

You use more fuel when a vehicle is overloaded so stick to your vehicle's recommendations. In addition to this don’t leave empty boxes or items on roof racks as this can cause a drag and make your vehicle less fuel efficient. Driving with your window open will also create drag.