car petrol south africa

Being a vehicle owner is not a cheap investment. Car insurance, car services, driver’s license, petrol, and car maintenance are all frequent expenses you must be prepared for.

2022 has been a difficult year financially for many South Africans. Specifically speaking, it’s been quite a nightmare for car owners as the cost of petrol has increased by 53.8% over the past year. With petrol going up as rapidly as it has, households are looking for savvy ways to save on monthly expenses.

As the cost of petrol goes up, so does electricity, food, oil, and other inflations. Unfortunately, despite the increased cost of living, salaries don’t go up. The unemployment rate in South Africa has also increased significantly since Covid-19. 

 How can you save money on petrol?

1. Check tyre pressure

You might be surprised to know that not many people realize the impact that tyre pressure has on their fuel consumption. If your tyres are not at the right inflation level, your car uses more power and more fuel.

Tyre pressure changes depending on how often you drive, if your car has been left standing for a while, what type of road/terrain you drive and just general wear and tear. Check your tyre pressure regularly for the best performance. If you’re not sure what your tyre pressure should be, you can check on the inside of your car door.


2. Reduce weight in your car

Did you know that a heavy load in your car also uses extra fuel consumption? Reduce the weight of your car by cleaning out unnecessary items in the boot and backseat. The lighter the load, the better. Remove all those random tools and clutter you don’t need.

3. Reduce aircon use

Use the air conditioning sparingly and only when necessary! Air conditioners drain power from the engine, causing the engine to work harder and use more fuel.

Open the windows for ventilation on a hot day, unless you’re driving at speeds higher than 80km/h, then rather use the air con if you need to. Having the windows wide open while driving at higher speeds causes a noticeable drag. Therefore, depending on the speed you’re driving, the air-con could use less fuel.


4. Service your car regularly

Car maintenance and services are extremely important for keeping your car in tip-top shape. Car insurance in South Africa is a must, and insurers recommend regular services to ensure your vehicle is safe for the roads.

Check that everything is working the way it’s supposed to, and your car isn’t using extra fuel or losing fuel or oil. Unaligned wheels work against each other and waste petrol. Follow a maintenance schedule to keep things running smoothly. We also advise using good quality oils with low viscosity; check your car’s manual for information about the recommended oil.

car service insurance

5. Carpooling

If you and a co-worker take the same route or live in the same neighbourhood, consider taking turns carpooling together to cut petrol costs. The same tactic can be applied to taking kids to school. Check with your neighbours if you can come up with a carpooling plan to split the cost of petrol.


6. Avoid traffic and idling

Another great tip to save on petrol is to avoid traffic. Sitting idle in traffic and keeping the engine running is a waste of petrol. If traffic isn’t moving or you’re idling for 30 seconds or longer, rather switch your engine off. However, only switch your engine off if it’s safe to do so! If you’re on a busy road where cars can come from other directions, be careful. Switching off your vehicle also disables safety functions such as the airbag.

If you need to pull over to take a phone call, switch off your engine instead of idling.


7. Avoid sharp breaks and acceleration 

Fast stops and sudden turns can increase fuel consumption. A good rule to follow is to drive steadily, brake slowly, and accelerate gradually. Avoid sudden breaks and don’t accelerate rapidly to try to get through a red light.


8. Plan your routes

navigation map

If your general commute usually has a lot of traffic, check maps for shortcuts or backroads to avoid traffic. You can also leave earlier or a little later than usual to miss the traffic. When you have multiple places to go to in one day, plan the route you take so you don’t go back and forth.



The petrol prices in South Africa are expected to increase again this July. Follow our tips to save on petrol and plan ahead where possible.

Remember, it’s not worth cancelling your car insurance to try to save money for petrol. Instead, rethink the way you drive. Check your tyre pressure, get your car serviced regularly and try carpooling with your friends and neighbours. Looking for a better deal on car insurance?

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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or legal advice.