Filling up with fuel is a necessary evil for all motorists, and fuel efficiency is something that every driver should be aware of. Learn about some of the surprising things that affect fuel efficiency in this article.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 35 seconds.What can I do to save on fuel? This is the burning question that almost every motorist asks, either of their mechanics, their friends, or petrol station employees. Unsurprisingly, everyone who gets asked this question has their own theories and answers, but very few people actually take the time to check if their fuel-saving methods are technically correct. So, to shed some light on the topic and really help you to save on fuel (and improve your driving habits) we explain some of the surprising things that affect fuel consumption. Let's dive right in.
The oil that you use in your vehicle affects fuel consumption, so it’s crucial to use the correct oil. There are different types of oils for all kinds of specific purposes: high-tech engines, new cars, high-mileage cars, and heavy-duty/off-road SUVs. In addition to that, there are a variety of different viscosities. Confusing, right? Well, not to worry. If you read your owner’s manual, you’ll come across your car manufacturer’s recommendation for which engine oil is best for your car.
According to FUCHS, a supplier of vehicle lubricants, engine oil must lubricate the various parts of an engine to reduce friction and minimise unnecessary loss of power. A well-lubricated engine will burn fuel more effectively and therefore perform better.
Read more about viscosities and the main types of engine oils in our article: Which engine oil is best for your car? Your manufacturer knows best!
2. Weight of vehicle
Your vehicle's weight is another important factor in fuel consumption. The heavier the vehicle, the more energy it will take to get moving. Lighten up the load and don’t carry unnecessary items in your vehicle. Torque provides a helpful method to calculate how weight affects fuel consumption.
3. Driving sales in traffic
Rush hour traffic has no mercy on your tank. Driving through congested traffic means you have to shift down to lower gears and keep accelerating at high revs. This stop-and-go pattern requires more energy, which means more fuel is burnt compared to travelling at a constant and reasonable speed.
Try to avoid rush hour traffic by planning your route more carefully, finding alternative routes, and listening to traffic reports.
Apart from driving in traffic, your driving style, in general, affects your fuel consumption. Unless you’re in an emergency, speeding isn’t wise, especially between traffic lights (which is so common in South Africa). Remember, the faster you go, the more fuel you'll burn, so be patient and drive according to the speed limit.
4. Using the correct fuel
This goes without saying, but you should always be careful what you put into your vehicle’s engine. Using the correct fuel lubricates your engine, while the wrong fuel can lead to knocking (which is very unpleasant for both car and the driver). Make sure that you’ve done your study of which fuel is best for your vehicle, and always fill up with that fuel. If you’d like to know more about 93 and 95 octane fuel, have a look at our blog: 93 or 95: How to choose the right fuel for your car.
We also have a helpful blog around petrol station myths that will help you separate fact from fiction when it comes to petrol stations in South Africa.
5. Tyre pressure
Tyre pressure is one of the most common things that drivers seem to neglect, yet it is so important. Under-inflated tyres increase your vehicle’s drag, which increases fuel consumption.
“An under-inflated tyre will sag at each side, causing the rolling resistance to be increased. More energy is required to overcome this rolling resistance, which means more fuel is needed. Therefore, your car’s fuel consumption will be higher if your tyres are under-inflated.”—Tyre.pressures.com
Which Suzuki is the most fuel-efficient?
Featuring strong, lightweight platforms and small, dynamic engines, supported by the latest technologies and smart design, all our Suzuki models achieve the highest levels of fuel efficiency and budget-friendliness. Yet, comparing like for like, our larger models and SUVs are efficient in their own right too.
“Suzuki took the title of second most fuel-efficient car brand in South Africa in the WesBank SA Fuel Economy Tour.”
How to keep your vehicle optimised for fuel efficiency
Service your vehicle regularly and on time, and this will keep your vehicle running at its most efficient level. The essential parts of your vehicle, like engine oil and air filters, only run effectively for a limited period of time, so replacing them at the right time will keep your vehicle running at the optimal fuel efficiency level.
Always ensure that you use the correct fuel for your vehicle. As previously stated, the incorrect fuel will have an adverse effect on your vehicle's performance, fuel consumption, and could potentially cause damage to your vehicle.
Remember, if you want to save on fuel, you really need to be aware of your driving style, speed, and other factors like the vehicle’s weight, and the kind of fuel you’re using.
Check out our handy fuel efficiency calculator and see how well your vehicle performs.
Download our comprehensive fuel efficiency checklists for more fuel efficiency tips to help you save on fuel in automatic, manual, and 4x4 vehicles.