MOTORING NEWS - It is holiday season and as we all know, high fuel prices are bad for inflation, bad for interest rates and bad for the economy as a whole, not to mention bad for our savings and home-buying plans. In fact, the latest AA survey revealed that 39% of South Africa's road users are already travelling "much less" in an attempt to reduce the effect of this year's high fuel prices on household budgets, and our own experience shows a significant increase in the number of consumers who have moved house specifically to be closer to work, schools and amenities and cut commuting costs."
However, he notes, there are some trips we all still have to make, and even if you are in a lift club or carpool, there are ways to lower fuel consumption and cost.
Here are a few tips:
- Maintain your car. Have it serviced regularly to make sure it is running optimally and check your tyre pressure every two to three weeks as soft tyres mean higher consumption.
- Drive streamlined. Keep the windows closed when cruising and avoid roof racks and trailers whenever possible, as these increase the vehicle's air resistance and fuel consumption. Use the air conditioner sparingly and switch it off once the interior has cooled down to a comfortable temperature.
- Don't let your car idle to warm up on cold mornings, as this burns a lot of fuel. Rather drive off as soon as you can and go slowly while the engine reaches normal operating temperature.
- Reduce speed. Air resistance - and the amount of fuel required to propel the vehicle - rises exponentially as speed increases, so try to reduce your usual cruising speed by at least 10km/h. If you have cruise control, so much the better.
- When driving in traffic, try to go with the flow and not have too many "hard" stops and starts. Driving in a lower gear does use more fuel than higher gears, but not nearly as much as it takes to repeatedly get the vehicle going again after coming to a halt.
- Keep a log. Start with a full tank and record how many kilometres you have travelled at each subsequent fill-up, as well as the cost of each tankful. This is a really good way to keep track of your consumption and divide fuel costs fairly if you have a lift club. It will also alert you to a possible problem if consumption per litre suddenly declines.
'We bring you the latest Garden Route, Hessequa, Karoo news'