Fuel for thought: 5 ways to save money and ease your pain at the pumps

It’s the first week of September, and you know what that means. Yes, Spring has finally sprung but also, the petrol price has gone up. Again. And even though it only increased by 5 cents per litre, that’s enough to make a big dent on an already strained pocket.

“While there’s nothing you can do to change the price of petrol itself, there are some clever little tricks that you can use to make your petrol go further,” says Faisal Mkhize, managing executive of Absa Asset and Vehicle Finance.

These are some of Faisal’s top tips:

1. Check your tyre pressure regularly, making sure that your tyres are at the recommended pressure (to know what that is, check the sticker inside the driver’s door). This improves your fuel efficiency because there is less rolling resistance with the road. Research shows that as much as 23 per cent of the petrol used by a car goes towards overcoming rolling resistance.

2. Drop the bad habits like speeding, accelerating or braking harshly. Aggressive driving uses up petrol unnecessarily, with studies showing that you can waste between 10 per cent and 40 per cent of your petrol in stop-and-start driving and between 15 per cent and 30 per cent on highways. That’s a lot of petrol going to waste for no reason, so keep an eye on the way you drive and if you catch yourself speeding and accelerating or braking harshly, stop and try to remember to drive more gently in future.

READ ALSO: Enjoy a safe trip with these tyre tips

3. Don’t over-rev that engine. Revving means that your engine is working too hard, which uses up more petrol. So when you hear your engine rev, change gears – and change up gears as quickly as possible to keep the rev count low. You’ll be surprised how much petrol it saves you.

4. Keep it natural – don’t overuse the aircon. Although modern cars are designed to be more fuel efficient, overusing the aircon can waste petrol because it needs power from the engine to run the compressor pump – which requires fuel. If you are driving at lower speeds, in particular, rather switch the aircon off and use your windows to regulate the temperature inside your car.

READ ALSO: What you need to renew your car licence disc at the post office

5. Make your rewards programmes work for you. You can earn up cash back with some rewards programmes. Most rewards programmes have partnered with petrol stations to help South Africans cope with the ever-rising price of petrol. Take the time to get yourself familiar with yours, so you can save yourself some money when you fill up.

“It’s not going to be easy to build in this latest price increase to a budget already stretched to its limit, but by making these small changes to your routine, you should be able to save yourself some much-needed money and make your petrol go that much further,” Faisal concludes.


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