7 Tips to Help You Spend Less On Petrol

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Trying to stop spending as much money as you usually do can be tough. But every cent that you can keep is important. As the saying goes - watch the cents, and the Rands will look after themselves. Take your expenditure on petrol, for example.

Did you know that drivers in South Africa spend a higher proportion of their salaries on petrol than any other nation in the world? It is true, as was shown in the Blomberg Petrol Price Rankings viewable here.

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It’s not just the price of petrol

It is not the price of gasoline that is the problem. The ranking table mentioned above takes 61 various countries into account, and of that 61, South Africa is 16th in terms of the cheapest cost per litre. The problem is more to do with the size of salaries. The lower the wage, the higher the proportion becomes that goes on fuel costs.

When viewed on a daily basis, South Africa comes 6th highest on the list that compares petrol purchases as a percentage of earnings.

When looked at on an annual basis, we come first. In other words, we spend a greater portion of our wages on petrol than any other nation. The actual figure is 3.71%. Mexico comes next at 3.34%, and Greece is in third place with 2.91% of yearly salaries going on buying fuel.

In terms of trying to cut back on your overall personal spending, there are a few things that you can do to minimise the amount you spend on petrol, starting with buying the right grade of petrol. Don't purchase super or premium unless your car requires it. Here's a few more tips:

Ease up on the accelerator pedal

Most drivers are quite heavy footed when it comes to starting from a standing position and accelerating. The faster you accelerate, the more petrol your car engine uses. Depress the pedal lightly and drive more sedately. Not only will you save money on fuel; you will also reduce the wear and tear on your brakes.

You should also learn how to “feather” the accelerator pedal. Just take your foot off and then apply it again very slowly and gently. You’ll find a point when the car almost coasts. Hold it there. This is excellent economy.

Drive through the gears

Don't wait until the engine is screaming before you change up a gear. The higher the revs, the more juice you will be using. Your engine works more gently as you change gear upwards. Let the gears do the work and save on fuel. Also, when it comes to slowing down, change gears downwards. Not only will this help you to be more in control of your vehicle, but you’ll also extend the life of your brakes.

Keep the tyres in good condition

Were you aware that 20% of the petrol you use is down to the friction between the road and your tyres? The less air in your tyres, the more resistance there is. Keep the tyre pressures to the recommended levels and also ensure the tracking is correct.

Keep your car well maintained

If your oil filter gets clogged up, your spark plugs get too dirty, or your exhaust develops a leak, all these things can mean you use more petrol. Keep your car well serviced, and it will help to keep petrol usage low.

Streamline your car

A lot of people use their car boots like dustbins. They carry around lots of useless, redundant rubbish, some of which is quite weighty. The lighter the load your car carries, the less fuel it will use. Also, take off things like roof racks which are not in use. The more drag such objects create, the more fuel gets used to move the vehicle through the air.

Economise with the aircon

When it's hot, it is very tempting to run the aircon all the time. Don't do it. When you get into your car, open all the windows and let the warm air out. Keep them open for the first few minutes and air the car. Then close them and switch the aircon on until its cool. Then switch it off. Only put it back on again for a few minutes at a time as and when necessary.

Never use the aircon when your car windows are open. You’re only making the aircon work harder because warm air is coming in.

It all adds up

Looked at in its own, petrol savings might not amount to a lot of money, but you'll be surprised how it accumulates over 12 months. If you can save a few cents here and there, it soon begins to look worthwhile. We recommend compiling the petrol management tips in this post with some of the additional tips on the Wonga blog to help you reduce your spending and before you know it, you’ll be making significant savings across many facets of your daily life.