Give Yourself a Break from Fuel Price Increases with a Rental Car

It turns out nowadays there are three certainties in life i.e., death, taxes, and fuel prices. Another certainty is that everyone needs a break – right now, and ever-escalating fuel costs can easily put a damper on the best-laid travel plans.

Fortunately, there are ways to get around the latest increases and prevent them from destroying your much-needed holiday.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a snapshot of our best fuel saving tips to ensure you can still enjoy your getaway relatively affordably.


Step One in Affordable Travels is Hiring a Car

Ask any mechanically minded soul and they’ll tell you that the first step in cutting fuel consumption is ensuring your car is in great running order.

In most cases, this involves even more expenses, especially when some unexpected mechanical ailment raises its head in the process.

With car hire South Africa, you know you’re driving a vehicle that’s in peak mechanical order. You can also choose a more economical vehicle than your usual ride, or even opt for a hybrid version that uses a lot less fuel.

In short, you’ll go much further for much cheaper when you hire a car, and you won’t pay any extra rental costs for the privilege.


Pick a Car with a Manual Transmission

Driving a manual car gives you more control over your fuel consumption. Most manual versions are also more fuel efficient and have more power than automatic vehicles.

If you’re used to driving a manual car, there’s a good chance you’ve already learned a few tricks to save on fuel already, and they’ll come in handy during your travels.


Beat Fuel Price Increases with Planning

Set up a fuel allowance and stick to it by planning your travels according to the distances involved.

Your car hire company can tell you about your rental car’s fuel consumption per kilometre and a glance at google maps will do the rest.

  • Take the bus or walk when you can. Although the South African public transport system leaves a lot to be desired in many centres, try to avoid driving your rental car unnecessarily.
  • Book guided tours or group tours to popular sites and limit your free-range explorations to a minimum. If you’re planning to visit two sites close to each other, try to do so on the same day.
  • Choose restaurants nearby, so you can walk there and enjoy an after-dinner stroll along a safe, scenic route back to your accommodation. Not only will this save fuel but it’s an enjoyable way to make up for that extra dessert and immerse yourself more fully in your destination.


Use the Off Switch

You don’t need to run your rental car’s air-conditioner non-stop on hot summer days. After all, you choose your destination for the warm weather, didn’t you?

Rather, roll down the windows and let your hair blow back while you cruise around.

When  you stop to admire the scenery, or at a wildlife sighting at a game park destination, turn your car off. An idling engine will only disrupt the ambience while it’s burning fuel needlessly.


Take up Hypermiling

This rather exotic term refers to the art of eco-driving, or plainly put – driving to save fuel by anticipating the road ahead.

There are plenty of ways to save fuel like this using a few simple techniques. Learn them, love them, make them your own…

Try these tips for more economical travels.:


Watch Your Speed

Researchers have been scratching their heads about fuel and driving speed for decades. The research shows that numerous factors come into play when determining the most cost-effective speed for travel.

These include:

  • Driving style
  • The presence of roof racks
  • Tyre pressure

Ultimately, most trial runs show that travelling at speeds between 70 and 80 kph is the most fuel-efficient.

So, slow down and take in the views, you’re on holiday after all.


Inflate the Car Tires Correctly

A study by the NHTSA shows that a 1% decrease in tire pressure uses 0.3% more fuel. That might seem like pocket change over a short distance, but it adds up to a massive expense on an extended road trip.

Flat tires create excess resistance and friction, so the engine uses more fuel to get them moving.


Accelerate Gently

Drive consciously, looking ahead to determine your next move and keep your car going smoothly without rapid acceleration or deceleration.

That means you should take heed of the traffic flow ahead, approaching inclines, and any robots or stop signs coming up.

Use the accelerator, steering, and brakes gently to ensure you progress smoothly on your travels. Your passengers will appreciate the smooth ride, too.

Stay in gear when you slow down as that activates the fuel cut-off switch in a fuel-injected engine, vastly reducing your fuel consumption while breaking.


Drive at The Highest Gear Possible

Change up through the gears quickly and stick to the highest gear possible within the posted speed limit.

Studies show that driving in third gear at 60 kmph, a vehicle uses 25% more fuel than if it were in fifth gear. Travelling in a low gear at high speed can push your fuel consumption up by as much as 45%!


Keep the Engine Revs Low

Every revolution of the engine requires fuel, so the less your motor turns, the less fuel you use. Around 2000 rpm is the optimum for economical driving.

Listen to the engine. A labouring motor uses more fuel, too.


Slip into Cruise Control

Cruise control exists for the sole purpose of reducing fuel consumption on a consistent flat surface. Use it.

Avoid using cruise control on irregular terrain or in urban settings. Reserve it for the open road.

Cruise control is slow to react to gradient changes and burns more fuel during the transition.


Don’t Be a Drag

Remove your roof box and roof bars when you’re not using them. They create wind resistance which burns more fuel, especially when you drive faster.

Unfortunately, driving fast with the windows open has the same effect, so it might be more fuel-efficient using the air-conditioner at higher speeds, depending on your rental car’s fuel consumption.


Hire a Car for Your Next Trip and Save

Are you running on empty and longing for a getaway, but worried about fuel price increases? You needn’t miss out.

Hire a fuel-efficient car from one of our affordable car hire South Africa service providers and make your holiday dreams a reality sooner than you think.