What goes up must come down… except for the fuel price!

A little over a week into the new month and all drivers are already feeling the weight of the escalating petrol and diesel prices.  Reaching record heights last week, petrol pumps are now set at over R14 per litre (R13.95 at the coast), and this excludes the increased fuel levies that will be imposed from April, as announced in the budget speech at the end of February.

If we follow the trends of January and February, petrol may increase by almost 40% in 2014 and diesel by over 25%.  This means that if you spend R650.00 to fill your tank, you could be paying as much as R910.00 by the end of the year.

The main contributors to fuel price movements are the price of crude oil, the Rand/Dollar exchange rate and the fuel levies, which were increased in the recent budget speech delivered by Pravin Gordhan.

One way of saving fuel is by driving better. It has been proven that better drivers have lower fuel consumption.  I’ve taken the time to find some practical tips to saving fuel when you drive and reducing your expenses by improving your driving behaviour.  Here are five of them:

1. Drive smoothly

Unless you are an actual racing driver, tearing away from the robots and then breaking like a taxi, who’s seen a potential passenger, is a huge waste of fuel and reduces the life of your tyres.  Even, gentle acceleration is what saves fuel and the magnetic strip on your garage card.

2. Read the road ahead

By being aware of what is coming up you are able to anticipate the need to slow down and can “ease off the gas”, as the Americans like to say.  This saves fuel and helps you to be a better, more defensive driver.  So, by implication, this means no using of your cell phone while driving, pull off the road and turn off the car if you need to answer the phone.

3. Don’t over-rev the engine

Apart from using loads of fuel and making you look more of a fool than the actual racing machine you think you might be, it’s just a waste of fuel and creates extra fumes that are not great for the environment.  Burning rubber also burns a hole in your pocket.

4. Use the gears sensibly

Lazy gear changing wastes fuel.  As soon as it is safe and you are able, changing into that higher gear is a habit that will save you money.  The opposite goes for travelling up hills; change down gears to make better use the momentum of the vehicle.

5. Fill up regularly

Never wait until your petrol light begins to burn.  Once your tank is half full, the movement and splashing around of fuel actually increases evaporation in your tank, which means that you will literally be ‘driving on fumes’.

Try to fill up when your tank is half full, early in the morning when the fuel at the petrol station is cooler and denser.  Filling up later in the day increases the incidence of evaporation of petrol whilst the attendant is filling your tank.

Over and above these tips, we also have short-term insurance options that offer cash-back to their members based on their driving behaviour.

Perhaps it is now time to change: change the way you drive and change the way that you’re insured. Protect yourself against the rising prices and let’s chat!
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