It all adds up … the rising cost of fuel, higher insurance rates, road tolls, parking fees, maybe even the (ouch) occasional driving fine. But there are many simple ways you can lower the costs incurred by owning and driving a car.

Fuel Efficiency

Consolidate trips and errands
Plan your journey to and from the office or school-run to include errands that will save you making those extra trips. Or consolidate your weekly errands to a relatively traffic-free time of day.

Don’t leave the engine running unnecessarily
This nasty habit is unfortunately pretty widespread in the region, especially during summer. An engine that’s idle for longer than a minute wastes fuel and pumps massive amounts of pollutants into the air. So if you’re waiting to pick someone up or are making a pit stop at a grocery store, turn off the engine.

Drive smoothly
Driving smoothly (without quick accelerations and braking) just below the speed limit uses fuel a lot more efficiently.

Braking causes excessive waste of fuel and also wears out your brake pads quickly. In heavy traffic, and especially when approaching a traffic light, maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you. Slamming on the brakes at the last minute will affect the efficiency of your vehicle and waste fuel.

Decrease wind resistance
Drag is the wind resistance (force) that acts against a car as it is moving forward. The higher the drag, the harder the engine has to work to move the car, and the higher the fuel consumption. Driving fast, while fun, increases drag. An open window also increases drag. So does lugging around unnecessary extra weight in the boot of the car. So drive under the speed limit, keep the windows up and clear the boot of any unneeded heavy stuff.

Turn off the air-con
Air conditioning turns a car into a gas guzzler. In the cooler months, roll the windows down a crack to circulate air.

Choose the best route
The route with the fewest stop signs and traffic lights can sometimes be the more fuel-efficient way to go.

Use cruise control
When driving on the highway or when maintaining a steady speed on long, open roads, cruise control is a convenient feature that will manage your speed and subsequently, conserve fuel. In traffic, and on hilly terrain however, cruise control is not a fuel-efficient option.

Car Maintenance

Burn calories, not rubber
In the cooler months, leave the car behind for walkable distances. It will keep you and your tyres in better shape.

Monitor your tyres
Tyre maintenance plays a major role in how your car performs, which is why you should constantly keep the state of your tyres in mind. Under-inflation increases friction in tyres, causing them to wear out faster. It also causes an engine to use more fuel to move the car.

Changes in temperature can cause fluctuations in tyre pressure by as much as two to three pounds per square inch (psi), so check the psi on a regular basis – especially when the weather changes drastically.

Regular servicing
A properly tuned engine uses less fuel. Clean filters and spark plugs help to keep cars running more fuel efficiently. The right motor oil ensures the engine runs smoother and uses up less fuel. So make sure you get your car serviced regularly.