Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

Higher en­ergy prices are here too stay via sky-high fuel costs. There are nu­mer­ous ways to dou­ble your fuel econ­omy and still be a car­bon cham­pion of the planet at the same time.

Drive Slower. My Volvo cruises smoothly at 1 550 rpm in 5th gear of the au­to­matic gear­box at 90 km/h.

Check the weather fore­casts be­fore­hand. A nice back breeze will re­duce your aero­dy­namic drag co­ef­fi­cient. Warmer tar­mac also re­duces the rolling fric­tion on the tyres. When the weather is fair, it’s a good time to in­flate them and re­duce the con­tact sur­face area with the road.

Fuel up at the low­est tem­per­a­ture pos­si­ble. Fuel den­sity in­creases.

Keep your ve­hi­cle in tip-top me­chan­i­cal con­di­tion. Clean air fil­ters and new oil will help. Clean the junk from your trunk. When pur­chas­ing a new set of tyres, con­sider your driv­ing style, and the rat­ings on them. Use cool, high sil­i­con con­tent, low rolling-re­sis­tance tyres when avail­able. Why go for tyres rated for 240 km/h when one is a de­fen­sive driver?

Small in­cre­men­tal im­prove­ments will all add up. Question ev­ery­thing and have pur­pose with your ve­hi­cle. ADRIAAN DE LANGE BOSJEMANSFONTEIN Hi Adriaan, those are some use­ful tips you have there. I was toy­ing with us­ing it in DIYW, but I think it sits well here. I al­most bought a new car when I needed to rec­tify some se­ri­ous wear and tear on my ve­hi­cle, but ex­trap­o­lated the mar­ginal in­crease in re­pay­ment over the pe­riod I still owe on my cur­rent car and it made more sense to love the one I’m with. The bit about you driv­ing your Volvo slower got me think­ing, too.

You see, my kids are now old enough to not need all the boot-fill­ing baby bags for a trip to the shops, so we thought we needed to down­grade. At sus­tained high­way speeds, the 2,2 turbo diesel we cur­rently have is quite fru­gal. Over­all, it sips less fuel than the last three 1,6 turbo-petrol cars I’ve tested. Plus, the big SUV gives us enough room if we want to load the in-laws in for a short trip some­where, or need to haul party decor around.

It’s all about know­ing your driv­ing style and buy­ing for your needs with 15 per cent head­room for growth.

En­joy your new drill. – Lind­sey

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