South Africans are feeling the pinch of the fuel increase as it impacts quite a wide spectrum of their lives. Despite seeing a R3.20 drop in petrol prices and a R4.40 drop in diesel prices between November and January. March has brought the decrease of fuel prices to a halt. As of Wednesday, 6 March 2024, both grades of petrol, 95 and 93 ULP and LRP  have increased by  R1.21 per liter. On the other end diesel (0.05% sulphur) has gone up by R1.06 per litre and (0.005% sulphur) by R1.19 per litre. This means that a litre of 95 unleaded petrol will cost R23.73 at the coast and R24.45 in the inland regions.

Projections at the start of 2024 expected no major price fluctuations because of the suppressed oil price expected in 2024. “The only significant risk to soaring prices was expected to be geopolitical occurrences,” said Eugene Herbert, the CEO of MasterDrive.

Adopting safer driving behaviours is one of the best ways to reduce fuel costs as it reduces some of the biggest expenses to fuel bills.

Speeding: a game of eights

Every 8km/h driven over 80km/h decreases efficiency by almost 8%. This means if you normally get 8l/100km, efficiency is reduced by approximately 0.64l/100km every 8km/h driven over 80km/h.

The faster one drives, the greater the resistance. The engine works exponentially harder after 95km/h and consumption begins to increase significantly.

Just relax

Rapidly switching between lanes, harsh braking and acceleration will not get you there any faster – only waste fuel. A study conducted by the US’s Energy Department’s Oakridge National Laboratory reveals aggressive driving reduces efficiency by 15 to 30% on highways and 10 to 40% in stop-and-go traffic. 

Continuing the analogy of 8l/100km, aggressive driving in a passenger vehicle adds between 0.8 and 3,2l/100km to fuel consumption. Driving defensively will not only remove the stress of driving aggressively but also save money.

Pump your tyres

Underinflated tyres can reduce fuel economy by 3% or more. The tread, composition, weight, and height all contribute to a loss of energy called ‘rolling resistance.’ Approximately 20% of the energy in a vehicle is used to overcome this.

As colder months approach, it is particularly important to keep an eye on tyre pressure. Cold weather drops tyre pressure and should be checked even more regularly.

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