drive the greenway, not the highway

Submitted by JimmySprout on Tue, 2011-11-15 12:41


With petrol prices on the rise (again), here are 10 easy ways to save big on petrol bills (and help save the environment of course!)

The best way to save fuel is not to use it at all

It might be old news and becoming a bit repetitive, but yes, really think about when you use your car and why. Could you walk or cycle to where you need to be? Why not take a train or bus? (The Gautrain is fantastic and Cape Town’s MyCiti bus system is reliable and affordable).

Slow down Schumacher!

Speeding is probably the most common way the majority of us use excessive amounts of fuel. In many cases it’s as easy as slowing down a tad (driving below 90km/hr. is much more efficient than speeds over 90km/hr.), keeping a greater following distance and avoiding heavy braking and reacceleration. The biggest save you can make, however, is to keep your acceleration speeds down- when pulling off don’t test your car’s 0-100km/hr.! Also try not rush (leave earlier and plan your route).

Drive smoothly

Jerking your car in and out of gears, braking hard and accelerating fast all use more fuel than necessary and as such erratic drivers can use up to 15% more fuel than more conservative drivers. Take it easy and let your car do the work, not you.

Watch your wheels

Your tyres and wheels play a vital role in the way your vehicle performs and what fuel index it can achieve. Worn tyres not only create a risky drive, but increase your fuel consumption. Similarly, wheel alignment that is out creates more friction than necessary, not only wearing your tyres, but costing you more fuel. The correct tyre pressure is also extremely important and will ensure more fuel efficient travel.

Get that junk out your trunk!

Additional weight in your boot does add up. If you’re driving around with a tog bag of clothes, beach chairs, old magazines, sports equipment and other items you add additional (and unnecessary) weight to your car’s mass. More weight equals more fuel required

Don’t rack your roof

If your vehicle has roof racks that you don’t use (or you only use them during holiday season) - take them off! Besides the annoying reverberation at higher speeds, they can skyrocket your fuel consumption up by 9% (or more)!

Use the corridor effect

We all hate traffic, but steady traffic flow creates good wind corridors that will inevitably save you fuel. Try and keep good following distance to avoid braking and reaccelerating. Wind corridors work especially well on large, dual-lane motorways (think of geese flying in the 'V' shape)

Do the long leg first

Taking a round trip to purchase goods? Go to the furthest out pickup first, and then pick up the rest en route home. This way you don’t drive back and forth with additional weight.

Don’t be an idler

Idling uses a lot of fuel. Keeping your vehicle moving / in gear is important to fuel efficiency and leaving your car idling while you dash into the shops or to drop a DVD wastes endless amounts of petrol. Rather just turn it off.

Don’t catch a cold

Excessive use of your air-conditioning can push your fuel consumption up 10%! Stick with the golden rule of any air-conditioning system and keep it on auto between 18 and 22°C. The same applies to heating – over 22° or 23°C and your car requires more power and therefore more petrol. It is often more effective to cool your car by opening your windows slightly. Do this on smaller roads and in residential areas where you are not traveling too fast.

Also have a look at some more greateco-drving and energy efficient motoring practices...