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7 ways you can drive to save fuel

With the general cost of living on the rise, be it fresh produce or monthly rent, the recent petrol price spike is beginning to seem like a stretch too far for many. Although we can’t bring the petrol prices down, we can give you some fuel-saving advice that could help keep your wallet a little fuller each month.

For many of us, saving money and drafting a budget doesn’t come naturally. Most often, we end up spending the money we initially saved. Well, don’t stress, we are going to unpack a few ways you can burn fewer fumes and save more cash. 

We know millions of South Africans are feeling the pinch at the petrol pumps. That’s why Cartrack is giving motorists something to smile about. 

#ExploreMore with Cartrack, sign up and stand a chance to win your share of R25 000 in petrol vouchers. While you think about that, here are some free fuel-saving tips you can put to the test the next time you’re out on the road:

1. Drive like your petrol depends on it

Keeping your engine on while your vehicle is not moving is not advised, here's why: Idling while driving burns an unnecessary amount of fuel and puts additional stress on some parts of your vehicle that could become damaged as time goes by.

Contrary to popular belief, continuously switching your car on and off while stuck in traffic, does not burn more fuel than leaving it idling, in fact, idling burns more. We elaborate on this in more detail in another article that explains how turning off your engine when not moving for longer than 10 seconds can be a simple fuel-saving solution that also saves on business costs.

2. Don't speed

Sure, this activity may feel like you’re getting from A to B faster, but speeding is one of the biggest contributing factors to rapid fuel consumption. Simply put, vehicles naturally use the most energy when accelerating.

If you are serious about getting the most litres per kilometre, we recommend you leave the bad driving habits like speeding, abrupt acceleration and braking, for the race track and stick to the rules of the road. Exercising safe driving and driving the recommended speed limit, especially on long-distance roads, will improve your vehicle's fuel economy drastically.

3. Change gears smartly

If you have a manual gearbox, switching gears too early may be another reason why you find your fuel light turning on empty a lot sooner than you expect.

Not giving your vehicle ample time when changing gears from a higher gear to a lower one will increase fuel consumption and engine strain as the engine is still continuing to run at a higher rpm while shifting into a lower gear, making the engine work harder than it should.

To help lessen the load on your engine, keep your revs per minute low while cruising, preferably between 1500 and 2000 rpm, and below 3000 revs while accelerating on a highway. This will provide you with the optimum fuel efficiency for your engine.

4. Check your tyre pressure

Believe it or not, the state of your car impacts your petrol usage. Being up to date with servicing your car and frequently checking on its maintenance are good habits to have if you hope to save on petrol.

Underinflated tyres take up more space on the road, causing them to drag while driving. This increases resistance and fuel consumption as you continue to use them.

Depending on your manufacturer, you can typically find the recommended tyre pressure on the inside of the door or in the manual. For low-rolling-resistance tyres, you can have the pressure pumped up to 0.3-0.5 bars above the recommended level for a smoother ride.

5. Make shopping an all-in-one experience

Another smart way to make every drop in your tank count is to make shopping a “one-stop-shop”. Imagine this, you've finally finished your long day at work and are about to head home. You get home, open the fridge and realise you're all out of ingredients. Before even putting your feet up, you're already out the door, heading to the shops.

Next time, head to your local shops on your way home and buy whatever you need. Simply planning your trips or routes before heading out can help you avoid burning unnecessary fuel.

6. Carpooling

“Hitching a ride,” or more commonly “carpooling,” is the next big thing when thinking of sparing your own petrol. According to Business Tech, carpools and lift clubs are South Africans' go-to options for beating record-high petrol prices. 

Besides saving money on fuel costs, alternating lifts let you sit back, relax, and listen to music while you're being driven around town. If more people started carpooling, fewer cars would be on the road, traffic would be greatly reduced and air pollution would slowly decrease. 

Carpooling also helps to prolong the life of your own vehicle, as your monthly mileage will be significantly reduced. Although this fuel-saving method is very popular, it could have an impact on insurance premiums. 

For instance, if you're the designated driver and you receive payments that exceed just the petrol and parking costs, your insurer could view this as a commercial transaction and require you to switch to business insurance or obtain a special permit for carpooling.

7. E-hailing

If you don't have a group to drive with or simply don’t enjoy the company of local strangers, then e-hailing services might be for you. With e-hailing, you don't have to worry about how much petrol you have left or putting extra wear and tear on your own car. You just open an app, order a car, wait for the driver and enjoy the ride. 

These days, there are multiple e-hailing apps to choose from, including Uber, Taxify, inDriver and many more. All these services offer different pricing on rides and offer their own special discounts on their respective mobile apps from time to time.

Fuel positive helper

There’s also technology out there that can help you monitor your vehicle’s fuel usage. You can track how much fuel your fleet or vehicle uses every day with Cartrack’s smart dashboard. By analysing the data provided by the devices installed on your fleet or everyday vehicles, you can learn where fuel is consumed most and why.

Cartrack can also calculate the safest and fastest route you should take when driving, so you don't have to burn extra unnecessary fuel getting to your destination. Visit us today to start saving on fuel.

Navigate rising living costs with insights on soaring petrol prices – find practical tips for budgeting in challenging economic times.