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How to make your petrol last longer – including why you should park inside


The government has offered a much-needed short-term reprieve to motorists by extending the temporary reduction in the general fuel levy of R1.50 per litre.

Initially, the ministers of finance and Mineral Resources and Energy had on 31 March 2022 jointly announced a temporary reduction in the general fuel levy of R1.50 per litre between April and May 2022.

This was to provide limited short term relief to households from rising fuel prices following the Russia/Ukraine conflict.

On Tuesday, the two departments said relief will be funded by a liquidation of a portion of the strategic crude oil reserves.

“Since this announcement, the continuation of the Russia/Ukraine conflict, supply chain bottle-necks and a tightening of global monetary policy have led to further unfavourable changes in the two key drivers of the regulated petrol price, the exchange rate and the global oil price.

“These events have led to even larger increases in fuel prices compared to a few months ago when the temporary fuel levy relief was introduced. The withdrawal of the temporary relief in the general fuel levy on 31 March 2022, as per the original announcement, would contribute to an increase in petrol prices of close to R4 per litre, and push prices of 95 octane unleaded petrol (ULP) to above R25 per litre, an increase of just under 20% next month.”

Finance minister Enoch Godongwana on Tuesday submitted a letter to the speaker of the National Assembly, requesting the tabling of a two-month proposal for the extension of the reduction in the general fuel levy.

This will take the form of a continuation of the relief of R1.50 per litre for the first month, from 1 June 2022 to 6 July 2022, and then a downward adjustment to the relief for the second month to 75 cents per litre from 7 July 2022 to 2 August 2022.

Temporary relief will then be withdrawn from August.

Even so, the retail price of 95-octane petrol in the central Gauteng province has risen by R2.33 rand a litre to a record R24.17 rand per litre, and the price of 93-octane by R2.43.

The price of diesel has increased by between R1.07 per litre and R1.10 per litre, with the wholesale price of diesel in Gauteng now at around R23.06 per litre.

And worryingly for motorists, this may not be the worst of it as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues with little respite expected.

“South Africa is also heading into the coldest months of the year and a dip in temperatures can also reduce a vehicle’s fuel efficiency,” said Eugene Herbert, the chief executive officer of MasterDrive.

“Much of the research on this is conducted in areas that experience drops in temperatures of up to 25 degrees celsius and consequently the reduction in efficiency can be as high as 12%. While South Africa is highly unlikely to see a 25-degree drop in temperature, there is still an inevitable drop in temperatures and consequently, reduction in fuel efficiency.”

Ensure you reduce the effect winter can have on your fuel consumption in the following ways:

  • Tyre pressure: as temperatures drop so does your tyre pressure and as this decreases so does your fuel economy. Additionally, if your area experiences slippery roads, it also becomes a danger. Check your tyre pressure first thing in the morning when they are coldest to get the most accurate reading, if your car does not automatically monitor tyre pressure.
  • Park inside: if you have a garage avoid the temptation to leave your car out overnight. When temperatures drop engine fluids thicken and use more energy to thin out. Parking inside reduces the effect of this and your consumption of fuel.
  • Warmups are unnecessary: as technology improves, the need to warm your car’s engine before driving has become unnecessary in most cars. Even if you do need to warm the engine of your older model vehicle, it’s more effective to do that by driving slowly and carefully than what it is to leave your car idling in the driveway.
  • Never forget: irrespective of whether it is winter or summer, remember the important tips when comes to reducing your fuel consumption; remove unnecessary items from your car, ensure maintenance is up-to-date, drive fuel-efficiently and remove anything from your car that reduce its aerodynamics.
  • Be prepared: particularly in older model vehicles, replace your air filter if necessary. A dirty air filter can directly impact fuel consumption.

Remember this as we head into colder months and potentially much higher fuel prices. “Ensure your vehicle is ready for the colder months and consequently, reduce your fuel consumption,” said Herbert.


Read: The cars being targeted by hijackers in South Africa right now



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