We’re all just trying to get from Point A to Point B, but what if you only have enough petrol to get you to somewhere in the middle? Understanding your car’s petrol consumption is the first step to ensuring you get to where you need to be while keeping your car in good shape.
Here are some handy things to remember when considering your car’s fuel consumption:
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How can I check my car’s fuel consumption?
Most modern cars have onboard fuel consumption readings but, as demonstrated by the recent VW emissions scandal, the data provided by car manufacturers may not always be accurate and older models may not have this functionality built-in. Ordinarily, if you wanted to check your car’s fuel consumption you’d have to do complicated mathematical equations - but luckily for you, CarZar has come to the rescue and developed its very own Fuel Consumption Calculator to do all the complicated working out for you! The Fuel Consumption Calculator is easy to use and has a number of different options depending on what information you have about your car.
What should my car’s fuel consumption be?
In SA, we measure fuel consumption in ‘litres per 100 kilometres’ (l/100 km). In the US, they measure fuel consumption in ‘miles per gallon’. A higher fuel consumption means your car has a lower fuel efficiency. Your car’s fuel consumption will change depending on the type of driving you’re doing - driving in traffic will use up to 50% more petrol than driving on the open road - but as a rule of thumb, most modern cars should run under 8 l/100km. Use CarZar’s Fuel Consumption Calculator to determine a second-hand car’s fuel consumption before you buy it, as a car with poor fuel consumption will cost you more to run.
How often should you check fuel consumption?
As with any car-related problem, things can happen almost overnight, and as your car ages it is more likely to have engine related problems. These may be indicated by a worsening fuel efficiency - a sudden or dramatic change in fuel consumption may be a sign that something is wrong with the engine. Check your car’s fuel consumption statistics at least every few months using CarZar's Fuel Consumption Calculator.
Tips for saving on petrol
Worried that your car’s petrol consumption is too high? The petrol price today just seems to be getting higher and higher, and a poor fuel consumption could be costing you more money than it needs to. A number of factors that affect petrol consumption are out of your control, but here are some easy ways to decrease your fuel consumption and help you save money on petrol.
1# Tyre pressure
The extra drag created by under-inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption by 3%. Check your tyre pressure at least once a month, but be aware that many petrol stations do not have accurate measurement equipment. Ensure your readings are accurate by taking your car to a proper tyre inspection centre.
An engine that is functioning improperly can increase your car’s fuel consumption - this includes blocked air and oil filters, which may lead to more serious problems.
#3 Drag and extra weight
Fuel consumption is decreased by increased air resistance. Remove items that are causing drag - like roof and bicycle racks - when they aren’t being used, get rid of heavy loads or extra weight, and close your car’s windows and sunroofs where you can. Use CarZar's Fuel Consumption Calculator to check your fuel consumption before and after long trips.
A car’s air-conditioning system is powered by your engine - turn it off to lower your car’s fuel consumption and save fuel.
#5 Efficient driving
Avoid accelerating sharply only to slow down - this consumes more petrol than driving at a steady speed. Steer clear of traffic to improve your petrol consumption.
#6 Don’t idle
Switch off your car’s engine if you need to stop for longer than 30 seconds. Also be aware that idling your engine in cold weather doesn’t change it’s fuel consumption or increase your engine’s lifespan.
#7 Slower driving
The easiest way to save money on fuel is by driving at no more than 88 km/h. Reducing your speed from 120 km/h to 100 km/h will improve your car’s fuel consumption by 1 l/100km. Try to change gears at 2500 rpm for a petrol engine and 2000 rpm for a diesel engine - this will improve your petrol consumption and diesel consumption respectively.
Petrol price breakdown
Ever wondered how the petrol price today is determined? The Basic Fuel Price (BFP) is determined by calculating the costs of transporting petrol products to South Africa. The domestic petrol price is influenced by a number of factors, including international crude oil prices and the Rand to US Dollar exchange rate. Because the cost of transporting fuel inland is more expensive than to the coast, the petrol price and diesel price for these areas are different. The General Fuel Levy is a tax that is added to the petrol price and the diesel price for every litre of petrol bought - currently, it’s about R3.15. This money is a general tax and doesn’t go to specifically road-related expenses. The Road Accident Fund levy is another tax that’s also added to the petrol price and diesel price, this is used to compensate victims of road accidents in South Africa. This currently stands at R1.63. According to the Department of Energy, there are a number of international influences that affect the price of petrol today, including Free-on Board Values, freight costs and demurrage charges. Domestic influences that affect the price of petrol today, including inland transport costs, fuel taxes and monetary margins.