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Tips to reduce your fuel consumption as humongous price hike weighs heavily on SA pockets

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With the higher fuel prices motorists need to make a concerted effort to reduce their fuel consumption.

With the higher fuel prices motorists need to make a concerted effort to reduce their fuel consumption. Picture: Karen Sandison, ANA.

As cash-strapped South Africans faced a humongous fuel price hike this week, with motorists now paying R1.21 more per litre of petrol and R1.48 more per litre of diesel, FNB Money Managemen and Masterdrive have shared their top tips on how to cushion the financial blow and reduce your spending on fuel.

Debt Rescue said this week that with massive fuel price increases coming into effect, the recent 15 percent rise in electricity tariffs, and a likely interest rate hike coming by December, the budget strain was already being exacerbated through an increase in the use of unsecured credit, which could sink people into further debt.

“Motorists should not rule out paying R20 a litre for petrol by the end of 2021,” said Neil Roets, the chief executive at Debt Rescue. “The fuel price has increased from R14.86 to R19.54 since January 2021. This is a staggering 31.4 percent increase.”

Sebastien Alexanderson, the chief executive of National Debt Advisers, said: “Most South Africans are already struggling to make ends meet, and this steep petrol price hike will see consumers having to once again dip into their already limited disposable income to keep their heads above water.”

To reduce fuel spend, FNB Money Management’s product head, Ester Ochse, said there were a few steps that one could take during this period to reduce your fuel spend:

· Plan your shopping so that you don’t need into pop to the shops on a regular basis. It will also save you money from an unconscious spend point of view, i.e. those items that jump into your trolley.

· Even better, for safety and convenience, try to shop online so that you will only buy the items that you need and will also save on fuel costs.

· If are you travelling to the office on a regular basis, try to see if there is a way that you can carpool to save on fuel costs.

· Make sure that your car is regularly serviced and that the tyres are properly inflated.

· Stick to the speed limit and avoid aggressive acceleration.

“Being aware of where your money is going and what you are spending it on is the first step in setting yourself up for financial resilience.” said Ochse.

The chief executive of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, said with the higher fuel prices, motorists need to make a concerted effort to reduce their fuel consumption.

“This is one of the most significant petrol price increases South Africa has faced in some time. Whether you’re an individual or a company, it is bound to affect your pocket. For companies, it increases the price of delivery, which then trickles down to the consumer. Now consumers are paying more for both goods and petrol. Consequently, the importance of keeping fuel consumption in mind whenever you drive is essential,” he said.

While it is difficult to accurately predict, the outcome for December did not look much better.

“Even if we are fortunate enough to see a decrease, the fuel price is still high. Follow these tips to reduce the effect that this has on you or your business as much as possible,” said Herbert.

MasterDrive top 10 tips:

1. Ensure your vehicle’s maintenance is up-to-date. Not replacing certain parts in your car can considerably affect fuel consumption.

2. Maintaining an adequate following distance and watching 12 seconds ahead helps save fuel as you have more time to react to traffic. You can then slow down and potentially avoid coming to a complete stop.

3. Keeping your revs between 2 500 rpm and 3 500 rpm can reduce your petrol consumption by up to 20 percent. In diesel vehicles, the rpm can be as low as 2 000.

4. Something else that can contribute to a 20 percent reduction is keeping your speed low. Travelling at a reduced speed, where possible, has shown to also play a role in reducing fuel consumption.

5. Avoid costly behaviours behind the wheel, such as driving aggressively.

6. Using your aircon judiciously and making sure that open windows do not add to increased wind resistance will also help.

7. Plan your routes. Plenty of petrol can be wasted by not making your route as efficient as possible.

8. Avoid driving with unnecessary items in your car that add to the weight of the vehicle.

9. Avoid idling for longer than 30 seconds.

10. Ensure tyres are properly inflated. Under-inflated tyres increase fuel consumption.

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