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Save on Fuel Without Putting Yourself at Risk

30 April 2024 Momentum Insure
Dipesh Radia

Dipesh Radia

South African motorists are gritting their teeth and clutching their wallets at yet another petrol price hike on the cards.

Based on the most recent information provided by the Central Energy Fund (CEF) at the end of the third week of April, petrol prices are anticipated to rise by approximately 35 cents per litre starting from 1 May.

According to Dipesh Radia, Chief Commercial Officer at Momentum Insure, motorists are forced to find inventive ways to save on fuel costs. “From a driver safety point of view, cutting down fuel consumption can either increase or decrease risk depending on how you do it. It’s important that we understand how to cut consumption while remaining safe.”

Radia provides a number of consumption-cutting hacks that can either increase or decrease risk with regards to driver and passenger safety:

Saving fuel the wrong way – increasing risk
• Reducing tyre pressure: Some drivers decrease their tyre pressure to improve fuel efficiency, but what this also does is decrease vehicle handling and even adds to the risk of blowouts, especially when travelling at high speeds.
• Coasting: We’ve all heard the notion of putting your car into neutral or even turning off the engine completely when going downhill. This may cut consumption slightly, but Radia says it also reduces the driver’s ability to accelerate quickly in case of an emergency.
• Skipping on maintenance: In a bid to save, drivers may skip regular maintenance of their vehicles. This could lead to an increase in fuel consumption and also put the driver at risk due to mechanical failure.
• Drafting: Some drivers may tailgate larger vehicles closely to reduce air resistance, thereby improving fuel efficiency. However, this practice significantly increases the risk of accidents, as it reduces reaction time and visibility, and can lead to rear-end collisions if the leading vehicle brakes suddenly.

Saving fuel the right way – decreasing risk
• Using cruise control: When you’re driving on long stretches of highway, maintaining consistent speed can dramatically improve fuel efficiency while maintaining a steady pace. It also ensures you drive at a legal speed, decreasing the risk of accident and wear and tear on your vehicle.
• Don’t accelerate harshly: Acceleration is directly tied to fuel consumption. Instead, focus on gently pulling away from traffic lights or stop signs, and gradually building up speed. Avoid putting excessive strain on your engine by avoiding high revs. For automatic transmission vehicles, lightly apply the throttle to prompt earlier gear shifts.
• Proper loading: The heavier your car is, the more fuel it is likely to consume. When loading your car, make sure you distribute the weight evenly and avoid overloading to help maintain stability and control of the vehicle.
• Avoid short trips: Trips of two kilometres or less use more fuel than longer trips. Even more so if your car’s engine is cold. Try not to make unnecessary trips to reduce your fuel bills.
• Avoid traffic: Of course, this isn’t always possible, but it is proven that driving in traffic increases fuel consumption. If you have a little more flexibility in your workplace, or are able to work from home, being off the roads during rush hour, could literally pay.

“Avoiding risk is avoiding unnecessary expenses, and in many cases, unnecessary tragedy,” says Radia. “Make sure when you are looking to cut fuel consumption and increase efficiency, that you do so in a way that keeps you and other drivers on the road safe.”

“Don’t put yourself in any unnecessary danger just to save a few bucks on fuel,” concludes Radia.

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