3 ways to save petrol in South Africa – including the ‘rule of eights’

 ·2 Mar 2024

March is expected to see fuel prices increase yet again, but there are certain ways to limit the pain.

Data from the Central Energy Fund points to a fuel increase of roughly R1.20 per litre.

The hike in March is expected to bring petrol prices back over R24.00 per litre and reverse much of the relief seen since November 2023.

The main drive behind the jump in fuel prices comes amid hikes in global oil prices, which have stayed at higher levels due to tensions in the Middle East and supply pressures brought by OPEC+ nations.

The weaker rand also played a role in the high under-recovery, training at over R19.00 to the dollar for much of February.

However, the weaker rand has also played its part in pushing the under-recovery higher by trading at over R19.00 to the dollar.

With the increase in fuel prices, Eugene Herbert, CEO of MasterDrive, has given some tips for limiting the risk of increasing prices.

Speeding: a game of eights

For every 8km/h driven over 80km/h, fuel efficiency drops by almost 8%.

This means that those who normally get 8l/100 km see their efficiency reduced by approximately 0.64l/100km every 8km/h driven over 80km/h.

The faster one goes, the greater the resistance, with engines working exponentially harder after 95km/h and consumption begins to increase massively.

The faster one drives, the greater the resistance. The engine works exponentially harder after 95km/h and consumption begins to increase significantly.

Be calm

Dangerous driving, such as rapidly switching between lanes, harsh braking and acceleration, leads to wasted fuel.

“A study conducted by the US’s Energy Department’s Oakridge National Laboratory reveals aggressive driving reduces efficiency by 15 to 30% on highways and 10 to 40% in stop-and-go traffic,” Herbert said.

“Continuing the analogy of 8l/100km, aggressive driving in a passenger vehicle adds between 0.8 and 3.2l/100km onto fuel consumption.”

“Driving defensively will not only remove the stress of driving aggressively but also save money.”

Pump ‘em up

Underinflated tyres can reduce fuel economy by 3% or more.

The tread, composition, weight, and height all contribute to a loss of energy called ‘rolling resistance,” with roughly 20% of energy in a vehicle used to overcome this.

“As colder months approach, it is particularly important to keep an eye on tyre pressure. Cold weather drops tyre pressure and should be checked even more regularly.”

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