It’s become like Mad Max up in sunny South Africa. The apocalypse has come in the form of a fallen Rand and the strangulation of our wallets. Perhaps the most painful thing we’ve had to deal with is the cost of petrol. If things keep going this way, we’ll need to switch our cars for this:
Make hay while the sun shines, and all that. Hay at least is a form of fuel for this special type of vehicle that we can grow.
But that might not be practical for everybody, so instead we have some hot tips for you looking to save on petrol.
Ultimately, the key is to be as aerodynamic as possible. Cutting through the air like an arrow will make a big difference on your petrol consumption. The reason being, the more your car resists the air, the more petrol it requires to maintain its speed.
Keep your tyres tip-top
So, one of the major causes for increased petrol usage is your tyres and the condition they’re in. Damaged tyres cause more resistance than undamaged ones. Similarly, if your tyres are underinflated, they’re not delivering the ease of mobility they should be. Then there’s improper wheel alignment. When your wheels aren’t properly aligned, your car’s steering tends to veer off-course. This in turn affects how aerodynamic your car is – not to mention also wearing out your tyres much faster. You should get your alignment checked every six months. And definitely any time you hit a pot hole.
Keep in top gear
The higher your engine revs, the more petrol is consumed. Lower gears cause higher revs, so you don’t want to be in the habit of driving in third gear. Smooth movements up the gear chain is recommended. So start training yourself to drive how professional drivers drive: the moment the revs are high enough to change gears up, do so. You’ll have to balance this against changing gears too soon, when you don’t have enough power: this could cause your engine to stall.
When you’re all the way up to fifth or sixth gear (whichever is your top gear), try keep it there. When you require more power, gear down – but only the minimum required power. And when you’re planning to turn into another street, start gently gearing down before you get there, decelerating slowly. Some people rush to get to a corner, end up breaking suddenly, then require more power (and consequently more revs) to turn and carry on their journey. Driving fast, breaking suddenly, and the rapidly accelerating will burn your fuel fast.
Plan your day better.
The key is to drive consistently. Because people in the big cities lead such hectic lives, they tend to rush from appointment to appointment. As mentioned in the above paragraph, driving fast and then breaking suddenly, before rapidly accelerating again just burns fuel faster. People underestimate the length of time it can take to get from place to place – a common problem is to dally longer than you should at any one place, only to leave and realise they’re running late. Add in heavier traffic than usual, and they become tempted to drive more offensively – weaving at speed through traffic, pushing through, overtaking cars not necessarily going that slowly, etc.
Simply by ensuring you run on time, and overestimating travel time rather than the other way around, you’ll be able to drive at a more consistent speed, and not overrev your engine regularly.
We hope these tips help you in the ongoing fight against in metaphorically drowning in petrol prices.