HOW TO SAVE FUEL - AutoTrader’s 10 Handy Hints

Posted: March 30, 2017

  1. Don’t be erratic - glide through traffic

That guy who pulls away from the robot at the speed of light, overtakes a whole line of cars, and screeches to a halt at the the next robot? Pffft, he isn’t in on the secret. Flooring the accelerator and then braking for dear life aren’t just bad for his car, it’s also bad for his fuel consumption. When you speed up unnecessarily only to brake hard and fast, all that energy you used to speed up, goes to waste. Easy does it.

  1. Empty your boot of stuff you don’t need

You should probably think about removing that 20 kg boulder for your rock pool from the boot of your car. Or those bags of potting soil, or cement, or the treadmill you’ve been meaning to drop off at the charity shop. Similar to a person who’s overweight, lugging all that heavy stuff around burns petrol calories - in other words, you’ll get less kilometres per litre. Another useful hint (especially for those driving large cars with big tanks) is to only fill your tank halfway - less weight means more saving!

  1. Switch off the air-con and open the windows instead??

Counter-productive! By all means, turn off the air-con if you want to save fuel, but don’t open the windows, as this increases drag. In other words, the air doesn’t flow over the car, but into the cabin, causing more wind-resistance. Manufacturers spend megabucks to make cars as aerodynamically sleek (as drag co-efficient) as possible, and the lower the score, the better. Instead, rather open the air-vents for natural air from the outside.

  1. Don’t drive around with stuff tied to your roofracks, unless you need to

This creates wind-resistance, as mentioned previously. Even the roof rails on their own increase drag, affecting consumption figures by around 10%. Transporting bicycles? Secure them to the back of your car instead of on top.

  1. Use cruise control (but not always)

If you’re driving on a level road, cruise control is your friend, and encourages you to keep your driving smooth and controlled. The reason we say ‘level’, is because driving uphill and downhill with cruise control activated, will actually increase consumption.

  1. Consolidate your trip

Doing multiple trips into town for different purposes is actually quite wasteful - your car needs to heat up and once it is warm, it will work more efficiently. Therefore, heat it up once, and do everything you need to do in one go. When the engine is cold, it uses more fuel, so even though the total distance travelled is the same for multiple, separate trips, you’ll end up wasting the stuff.

  1. Approach hills wisely

When you spot a hill far ahead, accelerate a little so the momentum can carry you over, instead of stepping on the accelerator just before you start your ascent. Keeping your momentum means less energy wasted. You should always be looking far ahead anyway, so you also have enough time to decelerate gently, if needed.

  1. Don’t be a speed freak...

The ideal speed for fuel-savvy drivers is about 90 km per hour, in the highest gear.  We’re not saying you should hold up the traffic behind you when the speed limit is 120, but the faster you drive, the more fuel your engine will guzzle. Just be sensible, and stick to the speed limit. And don’t be shy to move over if it’s safe to do so, so that hurried drivers can pass.

  1. Don’t be afraid to change up early

If you drive your car hard, and insist on reaching the redline before changing to a higher gear, don’t wince at how frequently you have to visit the fuel pumps!

  1. Service your car regularly, and pump those tyres

It just makes sense, doesn’t it? Think how much harder it is to walk on a soft surface than a hard one. The same goes for your car. The softer the tyres, the more fuel your car will use.

Always make sure that your tyre pressure is correct. As for the repair and maintenance of your car - don’t neglect taking your car for its stipulated check-ups to keep it running efficiently.

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