The price of fuel seems to continuously escalate and I don’t see any drastic drops in prices anytime soon. As announced this week, the fuel price for April is increasing again by 72 cents a litre for 95 octane petrol, 69 cents for 93 octane petrol, and 65 cents for both grades of diesel. The announcement was made by the South African minister of energy, Jeff Radebe. Prices are based on current local and international factors and will take effect from the 4th April 2018.

Regular car maintenance is highly important. We all know this. But do we actually perform maintenance on a regular basis? Admit it, most people don’t. Did you know you can burn up to 30 per cent more fuel on a car that doesn’t have proper maintenance done regularly? And since we all can’t switch to hybrid vehicles overnight, I’ve put together 10 tips that can help improve your fuel economy.

Tips to improve fuel economy:

  1. If you’re using your car on a daily basis then check your tyre pressure once a week or at least once a month. Under-inflated tyres burn more fuel because of the rolling resistance.
  2. Make use of your cruise control. When doing highway driving/travelling the use of cruise control can save you up to 6 per cent in fuel consumption.
  3. Have your battery cables checked and cleaned with every engine check-up. Corroded battery cables will cause the alternator to work harder.
  4. If your car has engine stop/start then don’t deactivate it and also don’t leave your car idling for longer than a minute. An idling car will consume a considerable amount of fuel per hour and is furthermore pushing unnecessary CO2 into the atmosphere. Modern engines are made to consume less fuel when turning off and re-starting compared to long-period idling.
  5. To warm up your car, you need to drive and not rev it. It will warm up faster if you start it and leave it for about 30 seconds before driving away. In that 30 seconds, the oil pressure is built up.
  6. Change your air filter according to the times the owner’s manual has set out. Even more so if your car is always being driven through dusty conditions.
  7. Do regular engine check-ups.
  8. Fill your car with the right octane fuel. Octane ratings measure the fuel’s ability to resist engine knock. Higher octane fuel is marketed as giving “premium” performance but is not necessarily the case. Resist the urge to fall into the hands of marketing trickery. Fill what your owner’s manual says your engine needs.
  9. The lighter the load in your car, the lower your fuel consumption will be. An additional 45 kg’s in your boot will reduce fuel economy between 1 and 2 per cent. In recent times, roof racks are used as more of an accessory, however, these create wind drag and should be removed if not being used.
  10. Naturally, the faster you go, the more fuel you will burn. In order to save your fuel, when taking off from a standstill, accelerate gently and also avoid heavy braking. Driving techniques can have up to a 30 per cent influence on your fuel efficiency. Also, keep in mind, the higher the gear, the slower the engine will be revving, and the less fuel it will burn.