Save More Fuel With 8 Simple Actions

Apr 11, 2023 | Car, Fuel

If you’re driving a car with a 45-litre tank, you could pay around R1,033 for 95 Unleaded and R973 for 0.05% Diesel. And if you have a 60-litre tank, you could pay around R1,377 to fill up with 95 Unleaded and R1,297 with 0.05% diesel. At least, that’s according to the prices relevant to the time of publishing and using the AA’s Fuel Pricing Guide

We shudder to think what owners of bakkies or SUVs with 80-litre tank sizes will face.

The reality is that there’s no quick-fix solution to mitigate rising fuel costs. That said, there are various techniques and tips that are easily incorporated into your daily trips that will help you maximise your fuel efficiency. 

What we’ve seen over the years, is that it is the smart drivers who make small, consistent changes to their usual routines who are more likely to reduce their fuel consumption and get more out of each tank. And of course, save money.

So let’s cut to the chase and run you through a few proven tips that could help you save fuel – and in so doing, save you money. 

  1. Regular Car Maintenance: Keeping your vehicle running smoothly ensures that not a single drop of fuel is wasted on easy-to-fix issues that could be slowing you down.
  1. Measure Your Tyres: Once you’ve filled up, ask the attendant to check your tyre pressure. Adjust accordingly, if necessary. This increases your overall driving safety and makes your tyres more fuel-efficient.
  1. Shed Weight And Resistance: A heavy, wind resistant vehicle is a hungry beast, so remove any transport racks and heavy luggage that you don’t need, and when driving at high speeds, close the windows to reduce drag.
  1. Turn Off Creature Comforts: Who doesn’t love air conditioning or cruise control? Unfortunately, when these features are used at the wrong times, they can increase petrol consumption significantly. It’s easy to save fuel by simply turning them off or using them correctly, such as opening the windows for air when driving at lower speeds, dressing warmly instead of turning up the heat, and turning cruise control off during curvy roads (as well as when ascending or descending).
  1. Be Constant: This isn’t always easy to execute, but maintaining a constant speed for as long as possible really does save fuel. Where possible, try to maintain a constant speed. Some routes might seem faster because of the twists and turns that put other drivers off, but all this up and down, fast and slow driving uses more fuel. While the more direct route may take longer during peak traffic times, it’s worth considering that taking it easy could reduce your fuel consumption.
  1. Anticipatory Driving: If you can’t avoid a route that requires changing your speed, then put your ‘plan ahead’ goggles on and drive with an idea of what’s coming ahead. This way, if you do need to brake or accelerate, you can do so gently. This will also help you avoid braking and speeding up as often as you would if you weren’t thinking ahead. This style of driving also prevents accidents, so it’s a win-win.
  1. Smart Gear Changes: Fuel-efficient driving also includes switching into the correct gear for your current speed. This means you want to keep the revs low. High revs mean more engine rotations, which  results in a higher fuel consumption. Aim to stay in a higher gear to keep your revs low.
  1. Plan Your Trips: Of course, what list of fuel-saving tips would this be if we didn’t point out that the most aggressive way to save fuel is to reduce mileage. We’re not suggesting that you give up on driving altogether, because that’s not feasible. But what you can do is plan ahead and make adjustments. For example, instead of a few solo trips throughout the day or week, you can combine these trips into one.

A single, longer trip means that your engine can reach its ideal working temperature and consume less fuel than when you take several shorter trips. Conversely, several shorter trips mean that your engine is performing several cold starts, and using just as much if not more fuel on those multiple short trips than if you were to just do one long trip.

Keen to experiment and see for yourself? We have a Trip Fuel Cost Calculator that you can use to see how much it will cost you to drive over a certain distance.

Click here to try it out.

Feel informed?

We hope that this information helps you become more fuel efficient and save more money on this unavoidable cost. While you’re here, don’t forget that AA Inform is home to a range of useful tools and resources, including articles on the best vehicle finance options, free property valuation reports, and a Fuel Consumption Calculator!

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