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Beat the budget speech blues with these fuel-saving tips

Finance & Money

Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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If you listened to the budget speech, you’ll know that motorists are being hit by a double whammy:


  1. An increase in the fuel price levy of 16 cents per litre.
  2. An increase in the Road Accident Fund levy by 9 cents per litre.


With the above increases in mind, you can expect to pay around R60 extra per month for a 60 litre tank of petrol, if you fill up 4 times a month.


Fortunately, there are ways to make the pinch less painful, with these helpful tips:


  • Boost the fuel efficiency of your car by as much as 40% by maintaining it and changing your bad driving habits. So, if you fill up 48 times a year at around R1 000 per tank, a 40% reduction in fuel consumption could save you over R19 000 a year.
  • Make sure that your car is serviced regularly. Things like worn spark plugs, sticky brakes, low coolant levels, dirty oil, and dirty fuel and air filters all add up to engine inefficiency, which leads to increased fuel consumption.
  • Check your car’s wheel alignment. Bad wheel alignment causes more friction, which takes more power to overcome and results in higher fuel consumption.
  • Check for underinflated tyres, as these, too, increase resistance.
  • Close the car’s windows when driving – open windows cause drag.
  • Reduce the car’s weight by removing unnecessary items and, if you mostly do urban driving, consider driving with only half a tank of fuel.
  • Reduce drag by removing roof racks and other accessories when they aren’t in use.
  • Don’t speed.
  • Avoid stop-starting. Maintain momentum as far as possible by looking and planning ahead, flowing with traffic and timing your approaches to hills, traffic lights and crossings better.
  • Drive at the lowest speed in the highest gear that the road and traffic conditions allow, without labouring the engine.
  • Use the air conditioning only when necessary
  • Plan your trips more carefully and do several tasks on one round trip, as opposed to many shorter ones. This not only limits mileage and the amount of time it takes to get your chores done, but also keeps your car’s engine running at optimal temperature.
  • Wait out the traffic. If traffic is heavily congested, spend a bit more time at the office to tick more items off your to do list. Battling through traffic not only increases fuel consumption, but also wear and tear on your car’s transmission and brakes.
  • Read or listen to up-to-date traffic reports and monitor your GPS for faster routes.


By following the tips above, you could increase your fuel economy by 40% and a tank that normally gets you 650km could get more than 900 km. This translates to almost a tankful of savings for every two times you fill up. Now those are some changes worth making!