The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority ( EPRA) announced an increase in fuel prices effective March 21st 2021. Petrol will increase by Ksh 7.63 per litre, Diesel by Ksh 5.75 per litre and Kerosene by Ksh5.41 per litre.
The soaring prices have put pressure on consumers who will in turn pay at least Ksh 120 per litre for fuel. This sudden increase in prices comes at the worst imaginable time when the country is battling the third wave of COVID 19.
Below are tips you can implement immediately that can help you save on fuel and lower your fuel costs.
1. Reduce your idling time
You have probably not thought about it but when you pull off the road to take a phone call or stop for a long period at a junction, your car consumes a lot of fuel. To put it in perspective, restarting a car consumes the same amount of fuel as the amount spent in 30 seconds of idling.
Therefore to save on fuel, shut off your engine when idling for long periods. However, remember that turning off the engine disables safety features such as the airbags and other car functionality. It is advisable to only use this strategy where there is no possibility of a collision. Remember, safety is important at all times when on the road.
2. Avoid overloading
Aside from being a safety hazard to other road users and yourself, overloading your car makes it consume more fuel than necessary. Every 91kgs of additional weight trims off 1.6 Km of fuel efficiency.
Know the capacity of your car and take off unnecessary weight to increase your fuel efficiency. Most drivers drive around with a lot of junk in their trunks accumulated over time giving the car unnecessary baggage. Check the trunk of your car and offload some of the unnecessary items.
3. Inflate the tyre to the right pressure
If you under-inflate one of your tyres, you risk cutting fuel economy by 2% per 0.5kgs of pressure below the proper inflation requirement.
An under-inflated tyre increases fuel consumption by 10% and reduces tread life by 15%. This means that aside from spending a lot of money on buying fuel, you also have to buy new car tyres frequently.
To find out the minimum tyre pressure, check the sticker on the driver’s door or simply check the car user manual.
4. Use the right fuel type
Every car has the recommended fuel type for optimal performance. Do not buy low quality or the wrong type of fuel as you risk damaging your engine and risk spending more money repairing your car.
Read your car user manual carefully and determine the right type of fuel. Stick to it and see your fuel economy improve significantly.
5. Shop around for the best fuel prices
Despite the increase in fuel prices, you will find a couple of petrol stations have slightly lower prices. This could be as an incentive to their customers or an ongoing campaign by these particular stations.
Keep your eyes open for these incentives and take advantage of the cut in prices. Saving a shilling off every litre of petrol could go a long way in cutting down your fuel costs.
6. Use air conditioning sparingly
The air conditioner is one of the biggest energy and fuel consumers in your car. It puts an extra load on your engine making the car use more fuel than necessary. Using it sparingly can cut your fuel consumption by 5%-20% depending on the type of car and how you drive.
Avoid using the air conditioner as a fan to circulate air but rather cool down the car when it is extremely hot. Keep it at around 72 degrees and use the vent setting as much as possible.
You can also make a habit of parking the car in the shade since less fuel will evaporate when the car is away from the sun. Besides, the air conditioning will not need to work extra hard to cool down the interior.
7. Minimise wind drag
Wind drag increases the fuel mileage making the engine work harder and reduce fuel economy. Keeping the windows rolled up prevents the wind from blowing inside the cabin and slowing down the car.
It instead allows the wind to flow over the body of the car. Keeping the windows rolled down increases the aerodynamics drag. This in turn decreases fuel efficiency by 10%.
We understand that amid an airborne pandemic, there is a need for constant fresh air especially if you have passengers in your car. You can crack the windows open just a bit for ventilation.
8. Take note of traffic flow
If you live in Nairobi, you already know it gets wild during peak hours. Try and leave before the traffic builds up or after the traffic reduces. If you do not have the luxury of going against traffic, anticipate the traffic flow and accelerate and decelerate smoothly.
It is safest and uses less fuel as well as reducing brake wear. When you approach traffic lights start slowing down early instead of coming to a complete stop suddenly. It helps lower your fuel consumption.
9.Do not be an aggressive driver
Avoid swerving in and out of lanes, fast starts and wavering to and from stop signs. Besides being unsafe, it wears out your car components faster.
Limiting quick acceleration and fast stopping helps you to save on fuel consumption. Maintain a moderate and steady speed and you will be able to save up to 20% on fuel economy.
10. Conduct regular maintenance checks
Regular preventative maintenance can help you conserve fuel. Take your car for wheel alignment to prevent them from fighting each other.
Replace or clean a clogged air filter. A clogged filter prevents the engine from getting air supply which in turn causes high fuel to air ratio. This will in turn increase your fuel consumption.
Every coin matters now more than ever. Just because fuel prices are on the rise it doesn’t mean everything is beyond your control.
Follow the above tips to conserve your fuel and ensure your car engine is in great condition. Always remember to reduce idling time, drive at considerable speed and keep your windows rolled up.
Do you have any other tips that you can share with fellow drivers? Let us know in the comments.