DON’T DO THIS . . .
Unless you drive quite an old car, you don’t need to “warm up” your car engine before you start driving. Today’s cars generally have fuel-injection systems designed for optimal function as you switch 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) says an engine that idles for a minute uses more fuel than one switched off and on again. The so-called “stop-start”-technology, 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%.
Don’t think manual cars are necessarily more fuel efficient than automatic cars. Thanks to technological advances, automatic cars can be just as economical as manual models.
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 unnecessarily. Instead use air-vent ventilation. Use the re-circulation setting when you do switch on the air-conditioning. Don’t think 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,” warns Dewald Ranft, chairperson of SA’s Motor Industry Workshop Association. “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 long-term damage to your vehicle.”