Here is how to save on fuel amid rising prices

Sunday June 24 2018


By Mustafa Ziraba

The main reason many high fuel consuming cars fail to appeal to customers is fuel. High fuel prices is an uphill battle for us all.

Public transport drivers have this stereotype of always fuelling with little amounts under the guise of saving money. However, in my experience, their driving habits totally blow away this rationale. Aggressive driving including speeding, rapid acceleration and braking wastes fuel. It can lower your mileage. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more fuel money.


Globally there is a shift in the car industry to more fuel-efficient cars using hybrid technology. However, the biggest fuel savings come from the old standards, car-pooling and public transport. Cars have become so cheap that those who do not own one forget that a car cannot run without fuel when they are able to. If you and your friend or neighbours share your cars using one at a time to and from work, you cut your fuel usage by about 50 per cent. No other step will save you as much money. Also, if you have two cars in the family, leave the guzzler at home as often as possible and if you are able to, use public means.

Open windows or air conditioning?

This is an age-old conundrum. Unlike a car’s heater, which uses free engine heat, the air conditioner robs engine power and lowers fuel economy. So which approach is better? Well the past few weeks of the blazing heat would push anyone to have their AC working. If your car has been sitting in the sun, drive for a few minutes with the windows open to cool it off. Then, if you are hitting the highway, close them up and turn on the A/C. Aerodynamics are more important at high speeds.

Inflate tyres

Keeping your tyres inflated properly and your engine running right is critical to efficient motoring. Under-inflated tyres can lower your fuel economy whereas over inflated tyres increase risk of tyre damage when encountering bumps and potholes. Even if your car seems to be running well, that perplexing check engine light you chose to ignore could represent a dead oxygen sensor or some other emissions control problem that causes the car to burn a hole through your wallet at the pump.

Cars with larger engines typically waste more fuel at idle than cars with smaller engines. Do not let your car idle when you are stuck say in jam. Idling uses more fuel. So, when in jam, switch off the engine and restart when there is movement.

Regular servicing

Keep your car well maintained with regular servicing to keep it operating at peak efficiency. An inefficient engine with things such as fouled spark plugs, for example, will not make optimum use of fuel. Be sure the air filter and the fuel filter are clean. If they are not, replace them immediately.