Savvy tips to tackle rising fuel costs

Savvy tips to tackle rising fuel costs
Dean Horn – Super Tyres Managing Director

As South Africans face another hefty fuel price increase this month, motorists are seeking savvy ways to save fuel and money.

“While the speed you drive is a 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,” explains Dean Horn – Super Tyres Managing Director.

  1. Vehicle maintenance

Neglecting regular maintenance can increase fuel consumption by up to 30%. Components such as spark plugs, rings, injectors, brakes, oil and filters should be regularly inspected and replaced to maintain engine efficiency and minimised fuel consumption.

  1. Optimal tyre pressure

Ensure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure as underinflated 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.

  1. Wheel alignment

Checking and correcting wheel alignment reduces friction, which directly affects fuel consumption. Regular tyre rotation and balancing, along with alignment every 10,000 km, contributes to improved tyre lifespan and vehicle performance.

  1. Gentle acceleration

Excessive speed is a major fuel consumer. Gentle acceleration and driving at the lowest speed possible in the highest gear appropriate for road and traffic conditions will help optimise fuel efficiency and reduce consumption.

  1. Minimise drag

Avoid unnecessary wind resistance by removing roof bars and roof boxes when not in use. These accessories increase drag, particularly at higher speeds, significantly reducing fuel efficiency. Similarly, driving with open windows also contributes to increased drag and fuel consumption.

  1. Combine journeys

Plan ahead and consolidate several short trips into a single round trip to maximise fuel efficiency. Cold engine starts significantly increase fuel consumption, making it more economical to complete multiple errands in one journey.

“Saving on fuel by keeping your vehicle maintained and adjusting the way you drive may require some effort, but will definitely be worthwhile. If you increase your fuel economy by between 20% and 40%, a tank that normally gets you 700km could get you close to 1 000 km,” says Horn.

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