Avoid a thirsty holiday

This month’s fuel price adjustment boded both good and bad news for motorists depending on their vehicle.

Users of petrol cars are paying 59c extra per litre whereas diesel users saw a much-needed decrease of R1.59. Either way, holiday trips this December will still be hefty with fuel prices above R20/L.

If you are heading off for the holiday season this year, MasterDrive provides tips to potentially reduce fuel consumption by as much as 20%:

  1. Tyre it right: underinflated tyres cause more drag and increase fuel consumption. It adds an extra expense as underinflated tyres also wear faster. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and buy a decent tyre gauge – it is an investment – as most forecourts gauges are inaccurate.
  2. Top condition: ensure services are up-to-date and where necessary replace those that directly affect fuel consumption like air filters, tyres and even brakes – all of which can require your vehicle to work harder and increase consumption.
  3. Easy on: keep your revs below 3 000 RPM. With diesel engine vehicles this can drop to 2 500 RPM
  4. Lose some weight: extra weight is inevitable on annual holiday trips but remove any unnecessary items from your vehicle. Every extra 50kg reduces consumption by approximately 2%.
  5. Speed kills: and it also reduces fuel consumption. Reducing speed by 20km/h can result in up to 20% savings.
  6. Drop the bulk: where possible avoid roof racks and rather choose options with less affect on aerodynamics.
  7. Tow the line: ensure trailers or caravans are in just as good a condition as your vehicle. Slowing down and driving smoothly while towing also helps save fuel. Only fill caravan water tanks upon arrival at your destination to reduce weight.
  8. Keep calm and drive: avoid reckless and aggressive driving as sudden acceleration and braking consumes more fuel.
  9. Cruising along: be selective about when to use cruise control: it is more effective on even roads with minimal traffic than inclines or busy roads.
  10. Stay cool: on hot days park in shady spots where possible so the aircon requires less effort and, consequently fuel, to cool the car when driving again.

Do not let current fuel prices dissuade you from an annual break. With some careful driving, you can reduce the cost on your pocket.