Smart driving tips to get you through those pesky fuel price hikes

As fuel prices continue to rise as the Rand drops in value, Ford has compiled some fuel efficiency tips to help you get the most bang for your buck.

As of Tuesday night both 95 and 93 petrol have increased by 91 cents per litre, while diesel is set for a 55 cent increase.

That leaves 95 petrol at R17.58/l, 93 petrol at R17.59/l and diesel at R15.02/l according to the Automobile Association (AA). Note, these are coastal prices.

1. Choose a fuel-efficient engine: It seems obvious, but if you are buying a car, do your homework with regards to the fuel usage. Hearing the sound of a V8 is great, but you might be filling up daily.

2. Weight is your enemy: Reducing the weight you carry on and in your car will improve its fuel consumption.

Studies indicate that cutting 50kg of weight can improve usage by as much as 2%.

Simple solutions are to take a roof rack off when not in use and not using your boot as a storage facility.

3. Drive sensibly: Although you may enjoy feeling like Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone, it makes sense to your wallet to be gentle on the throttle and brakes.

Use cruise control if you have it, especially over longer distances.

Up to around 80km/h, the energy required to overcome wind resistance on a vehicle is minimal, but beyond that drag increases exponentially.

4. Talking tyres: Check your tyre pressure regularly and stick to the operating manual’s directions.

Over-inflation will reduce grip and increase wear, while under-inflation will increase rolling resistance, increasing fuel consumption.

Aggressive tread patterns may improve grip off-road but they will also increase fuel use.

Check wheel alignment every 10 000 kilometers.

5.Time to tow: If you are towing a trailer, higher speeds will increase wind resistance on both the vehicle and trailer.

Drive at 10-15km/h slower than usual to save fuel.

6. Service is serious: Nothing beats optimum performance like regular servicing.

Fixing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve fuel efficiency by as much as 40% and using the wrong engine oil can affect fuel usage by up to 2%.

7. Keep cool: In hot weather, rolling down the windows is sensible at low speeds because the air-conditioner can increase fuel consumption by as much as 25%.

At higher speeds, rolled down windows will increase drag, so use the air-conditioner instead.

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