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How to save 20% on your petrol bill

Driving defensively and keeping your car’s revs under 3,000rpm has the potential to slash fuel consumption by as much as 20%.

Last night, fuel prices shot up for the third consecutive month by a maximum of 67c per litre for petrol and 3c per litre for diesel, exacerbating the cost-of-living crisis that is putting severe pressure on South Africans’ purse strings.

Endeavouring to save consumers as much fuel as possible, and consequently money, advanced driver-training company MasterDrive has done the research on how much your car’s consumption can potentially be improved through changing certain driving habits.


Tyres have the potential to cut fuel usage by 3-5% as correctly inflated wheels reduce the rolling resistance a car experiences.

Therefore, you should regularly check that the tyre pressure matches manufacturer-recommended specifications, and if you don’t have your own tyre gauge to do so, you can use the one at the filling station when you go for your next top-up.


Avoiding harsh acceleration can save as much as 15% on your fuel bill as it minimises stress on the engine and transmission.

When out and about, pay attention to accelerating gently and leaving adequate following distances between yourself and the car ahead to avoid unnecessarily violent pedal presses.


Real-time telematics data could assist in reducing your petrol spend by 15% as it allows for efficient route planning, correction of bad behaviours, and the reduction of other fuel-consuming habits.

Your telematics provider should be able to provide the necessary data that will help you make more informed decisions regarding your driving etiquette.


Reducing speed lowers rolling resistance as well as aerodynamic drag.

With this in mind, driving 20km/h slower than the recommended speed limit will see your car use up to 20% less fuel than it would have had you been travelling at or above the speed restriction.

Defensive driving

Defensive driving techniques like anticipating traffic conditions and watching 12 seconds ahead can decrease fuel consumption by as much as 20%.

Should you want to sharpen your skills in this field, it’s possible to undertake defensive driving or remedial training to learn handy fuel-saving virtues.


In manual vehicles, making an effort to keep the engine speed below 3,000rpm could result in a potential saving of 20% as the engine does not need to exert as much energy to keep going.

For the best results, form the habit of watching your rev counter and changing gears before 3,000rpm. This can also be done in most automatic cars that provide a form of manual intervention to swap gears.

MasterDrive notes, however, that the above figures are not definitive and will be influenced by your driving style, vehicle, the area in which you live, and the type of fuel your car uses.

“Each factor is tested on its own merits and if all or some are combined, the savings are not cumulative,” it said.

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