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11 tips to save on petrol costs

Aug 31 2012 16:31

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Cape Town – With consumers buckling under price hikes and a shocking 93c a litre increase in the petrol price announced on Friday, South Africans will increasingly have to find alternative ways to survive financially.

The Automobile Association, in partnership with BP, has put together 11 tips to save on petrol costs.

The tips, published on the AA website, are:

1. Check your tyre pressure

Under-inflated tyres are not only dangerous; they increase the rolling resistance between the vehicle’s tyres and the road.

To overcome the extra drag, the engine will have to work harder and therefore consume more fuel. Correctly inflated tyres result in increased mileage of approximately 3.3%.

2. Service your car regularly

A badly maintained vehicle is unlikely to perform as it is designed to. Problems such as partially blocked filters, poor oil performance and emissions control systems defects may occur.

These and other factors will prevent your engine from functioning as well as the manufacturer intended it to, which can result in increased fuel consumption and higher emissions.

3. Reduce your drag

Any external fixings such as roof boxes, roof rails and bike racks should be removed when not in use. They change the air flow over the vehicle and increase its aerodynamic draft. Opening windows and sunroofs will also increase air drag over the car.

This means a greater force is needed to drive the vehicle through the air, needing extra power from the engine and increasing fuel consumption and emissions.

4. Use high quality fuels

It will allow the vehicle to run more efficiently, enabling improved combustion quality thus reducing fuel consumption and lowering emissions.

5. Turn off your aircon

The air-conditioning unit contains a compressor pump driven by your engine. When air conditioning is used the compressor uses power from the engine, increasing the work it has to do. This requires more fuel and produces increased emissions.

6. Lighten your load

Carrying unnecessary weight in the boot or cabin of the vehicle will make the engine work harder when accelerating – this particularly affects stop/start driving. Simply removing this load will reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

7. Avoid start/stop driving

The engine has to work hard when accelerating and every time the brakes are used this energy is lost as heat.

By observing and predicting road and traffic conditions ahead, the effects stop/start driving can be reduced. Simply lifting off the accelerator earlier and gently slowing down will improve fuel economy.

8. Avoid excessive idling:

Unnecessary idling will consume fuel and produce emissions even while stationary. During idling periods of several minutes or more, where it is safe to do so, switching off your engine will stop fuel consumption and emissions completely.

9. Ease off the accelerator

Accelerating hard and using high engine speeds will make the engine consume more fuel. This is because, under high loads and speeds, the engine is not operating with high efficiently.

Accelerating more steadily to the desired speed will reduce fuel consumpotion and emissions. Using the engine in its most efficient range can reduce consumption and emissions. For petrol, changing gear at 2 500rpm and for diesel 2 000 rpm is recommended.

10. Avoid short journeys

On short journeys when an engine is cold, it uses more fuel because some of the energy in the fuel is used to heat the engine. The catalytic converter in the exhaust, which reduces harmful emissions, is also less efficient when cold.

11. Change down a gear

When driving on a steep hill, do not labour the engine at low engine speeds. It is better to use a lower gear and keep the engine speed higher.

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