DON’TS AND MYTHS
Manual cars aren’t necessarily more fuel efficient than automatic cars. Thanks to technological advances automatic cars are just as economic as manual models.
Unless you drive quite an old car, it’s no longer necessary to “warm up” your car’s engine before you start driving. Today’s cars generally have fuel-injection systems designed for optimal function as you turn on the car.
Don’t take the car out of gear going downhill – it makes it more difficult to control the car in an emergency. By just taking your foot off the accelerator, not releasing the gear, you’ll probably use the least fuel.
Don’t use the engine to stop your car from rolling back when you’ve stopped on a hill. It wastes petrol and isn’t good for the clutch. Use the handbrake instead.
Don’t let the engine idle too long in stationary traffic. Turn it off after 30-60 seconds until you can drive again. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in America says an engine that idles for a minute uses more fuel than one switched off and on again. The so-called “stop-start”-tech- nology, which allows the engine to switch off automatically when you take your foot off the brake pedal, was initially used only in hybrid cars but is now widely used in conventional cars and can cut consumption by up to 5%.
If you can avoid it, don’t drive with open windows, especially on the highway, as this can significantly increase fuel consumption.
Don’t use your air-conditioning unless you really need to. Instead use ordinary air-vent ventilation. Use the re-circulation setting when you do switch on the airconditioning.
Don’t think that you’ll make any real saving by skipping your regular car service. “Possibly the biggest fuel waster of all comes into effect once the vehicle is not running properly anymore,” Dewald Ranft, chairperson of SA’s Motor Industry Workshop Association, warns. “Misfires, engine warning lights, low performance, binding brakes and oil sludge are all things that can cause an increase in fuel consumption of more than 10%, besides the longterm damage to your vehicle.”