With fuel prices jumping significantly today, there are a few ways South Africans can lower their fuel consumption by changing their driving habits.
South Africans are paying close to R25 per litre of fuel, with petrol prices increasing by R1.71 per litre, whilst diesel prices have been hiked by between R2.76 and R2.84 a litre.
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy said that the increase was due to the increased price of petroleum products and the weakening of the rand during the period under review compared to the prior period.
High fuel prices will remain for the rest of the year, with the rand remaining at elevated levels against the dollar and OPEC+ announcing that it will continue its supply cut until the end of the year.
However, the CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, said that South Africans can improve their fuel usage by following a few simple tips.
“There are certain driving behaviours, activities in the vehicle and maintenance requirements that can have a significant impact on your fuel usage,” Herbert said.
“Below are the activities that consume the greatest amount of fuel. The good news is that, fortunately, these behaviours can either be avoided or reduced in most instances.”
“Thus, rather than placing unrealistic expectations on how much you can reduce driving, decide if you might be increasing your consumption by participating in these top fuel-consuming activities.”
Herbert said that keeping the speed limit below 100km/hour can save a South African motorist as much as 20% on their fuel bill.
He acknowledged that South Africans like to drive fast but argued that those reluctant to drive below the speed limit should at least not go over it.
He added that consumption increases by roughly 10% when a motorist exceeds 80km/h.
A heavier vehicle uses more fuel as the engine has to work harder. According to estimates, an additional 50kg of weight leads to a 2% increase in consumption.
Overloading also places greater pressure on the tyres, and the resulting rolling resistance will also force the engine to work harder – leading to a further increase in fuel consumption.
Air-conditioning can be tricky as fuel consumption can increase if it is used or not.
During a hot day, not using air-conditioning usually causes motorists to open the window, which reduces aerodynamics and increases fuel consumption.
Using air-conditioning can, however, increase fuel consumption by 10%, especially on shorter trips.
Thus, when deciding whether to use the air-conditioning, it is necessary to evaluate the circumstances and keep it off only if the temperature is cool enough to keep the windows closed.