There are many ways to stay on a budget. You can collect coupons for your grocery store, bulk buy non-perishable products and even look out for specials. However, one thing that will never go on special is petrol. The way petrol is regulated in South Africa, the only way you can save money on your fuel costs is by driving a little bit more sensibly.
What this means is that you need to start modifying your driving habits to increase your consumption, use less fuel and ultimately bring down your petrol expenses. So to do that, here are some driving tips and tricks that are doubly green: green for the environment and green for your wallet.
Drive in a higher gear: The engine runs most efficiently between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm (lower in diesel powered motors). To maintain low revs you should change up through the gears as soon as it is practical and before the counter hits 2,500rpm. Automatic transmissions will shift up more quickly and smoothly if you ease back slightly on the accelerator once the vehicle gathers momentum.
Speed kills economy: We all love watching formula one cars racing around a track, but because of the high speeds and sharp breaking, they need to refuel two or three tips in two hours, this does not make for economical driving. Higher speeds translate into higher fuel usage. Driving at 110km/h uses up to 25% more fuel than driving at 90km/h. Therefore, ease up on the accelerator and rather drive a little slower to maintain a good consumption.
Remove the excess luggage: While it is more convenient to travel around with books, bags and other items in your boot. The down side is this extra weight means that your car needs to work harder to move the vehicle forward. Therefore, this convenience is actually costing your money. For every 45 kilograms extra you carry in your car, your consumption can drop by as much as 5%.
Minimise idling: Minimise fuel wastage in idling by switching the motor off when you are stopped or held up for an extended period of time. Whenever you stop your vehicle, assess the situation and determine how long the car will be stationary for. There is no point switching off the engine every time you get to a robot or stop street. However, if you are stopped outside a shopping centre for five minutes, idling the car will only end up lowering your fuel consumption and costing you more at the pumps.
Refuelling your car: A common mistake that people make when refuelling their cars is that they try cram in as much fuel as possible into the tank. The hope is that – especially during price changes – that more fuel will last longer and save you an extra couple of bucks. However, putting in as much fuel as possible actually worsens your consumption. This is because once your petrol levels exceed a certain limit in the tank, it (A) is released through the petrol cap through fumes and (B), the extra petrol is pushed into your motor and once you start the car, it pushes the overflow through your exhaust by means of exhaust smoke.
Whether you are driving a small hatch back like the Opel corsa 5-door or a large SUV like the Range Rover Evoque, using these simple tips will help you save petrol and the environment. Try these tips and see how much heavier your wallet feels at the end of the month.