High fuel prices aren't going to deter most South Africans from taking road trips this Easter weekend, according to a recent survey conducted by BP Ultimate, one of SA's premium fuel brands.
The survey, which polled 250 motorists of all ages across the country, showed that six out of ten drivers remain determined to go away for the Easter holiday, but will be keeping a tight grip on their wallets.
Tebogo Mekoa, BP's Fuels and Services Manager, says the survey does however indicate that most South Africans have had to alter their plans for this weekend, due to high fuel prices. Impact on hospitality industry
"Most are planning shorter trips this Easter and will be spending in the region of 10% - 30% less on travel and holiday accommodation this year, compared to the same time last year.
"Almost 30% of respondents said they will be relying more on public transport to get them to their holiday destination, and 48% said they have already made changes to their daily travel routine as a result of high fuel prices: 16% now travel by bus or train, 21% have joined a lift club, 11% alternate travelling by car, bus, train or bicycle, while the remaining 52% still rely on their car or motorcycle as their main modes of transport," says Mekoa.
He points out that there are however several simple ways of saving money at the fuel pump.
"Your Easter holiday doesn't have to be reduced to a one-tank weekend trip. By simply being aware of the aspects that increase fuel consumption, you can save substantially on your fuel bill." BP's top ten ways to save on fuel include:
1. Checking your tyre pressure
. Under-inflated tyres are not only dangerous, but they also increase the rolling resistance between the vehicle's tyres and the road. To overcome the extra drag, the engine will have to work harder and therefore consume more fuel.
2. Maintaining your vehicle
. A badly-maintained vehicle is unlikely to perform as it is designed to. Problems such as partially-blocked filters, poor oil performance and emissions control systems under-performing may occur. These and other factors will prevent your engine from functioning properly, which can result in increased fuel consumption.
3. Removing roof box rails
. Any external fixings such as roof boxes, their rails and bike racks should be removed when not in use. They change the air flow over the vehicle and increase its aerodynamic draft. This means a greater force is needed to drive the vehicle through the air, requiring extra power from your engine, in turn increasing fuel consumption.
4. Reducing the use of air-conditioning
. The air-conditioning unit contains a compressor pump driven by your engine. When air conditioning is used the compressor uses power from the engine, increasing fuel consumption and emissions.
5. Removing unnecessary weight
. Carrying unnecessary weight in the boot of the vehicle will make the engine work harder when accelerating.
6. Reducing stop/start driving
. The engine has to work hard when accelerating and every time the brakes are used this energy is lost as heat. By simply lifting off the accelerator earlier and gently slowing down, will improve fuel economy.
7. Excess idling. Unnecessary idling will consume fuel and produce emissions even whilst stationary. During periods of several minutes or more, where it is safe to do so, switching off your engine will stop fuel consumption completely.
8. Hard acceleration
. Accelerating hard and using high engine speeds will make the engine consume more fuel. Accelerating more steadily to the desired speed will reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
9. Avoid short journeys
. On short journeys when an engine is cold it uses more fuel because some of the energy in the fuel is used to heat the engine. The catalytic converter in the exhaust of modern vehicles, which reduces harmful emissions, is also less efficient when cold. Cold-start journeys, therefore, lead to high emissions and high fuel consumption for several minutes after start up.
10. Use of high quality fuels
. Using high quality fuels, such as BP Ultimate, will allow the vehicle to run more efficiently, enabling improved combustion quality thus reducing fuel consumption and lowering emissions. Independent tests show that the fuel economy benefit of BP Ultimate Unleaded can be up to 25km more per tank and up to 36km extra when using BP Ultimate Diesel, compared to ordinary fuels.
"Contrary to widespread belief, not all fuel is created equal," says Mekoa. "BP Ultimate is the only petroleum brand recommended by the Automobile Association of South Africa, which can give motorists more kilometres per tank. Besides BP, no other petroleum company has been able to substantiate their claims with a specific number of extra kilometres.
"For a typical South African motorist doing an average of 24 000km a year, when filling up with BP Ultimate regularly, it could mean up to 960km more, which equates to a return trip from Johannesburg to the Kruger National Park or to Durban with mileage to spare to explore the coast.
"Tests have proved that by using BP Ultimate Diesel, motorists can get up to an extra 36km per tank. A typical diesel car doing average mileage could go up to 720km further in a year on BP Ultimate," concludes Mekoa.
For more information on BP Ultimate's fuel efficiency benefits log on to www.bpultimate.co.za