CAR-POOLS ARE THE SOLUTION TO BUDGET-BUSTING ROAD COSTS

Thursday, January 16, 2014

With analysts predicting a sharp rise in the petrol price, Budget Insurance says sharing the load is key to staying on the road without breaking the budget.

“Just a few weeks into the New Year and already experts have predicted hefty petrol price hikes. Petrol is showing a potential climb of between 28 cents and 32 cents per litre, with 15 cents per litre for diesel and 9 cents per litre for illuminating paraffin. Not the type of news South Africans want to hear at the start of the year! What’s more, with the e-toll system now in place in Gauteng, using the roads is becoming expensive business. For some, it is already unaffordable,” says Martin Janse van Rensburg from Budget Insurance.

Janse van Rensburg says that car-pooling with people is by far the best, yet the most overlooked, way to manage, and afford, rising transport costs. At the same time, you get to reduce the amount of time you spend at the wheel, and lessen wear and tear on your car.

“Sharing lifts with just one person means you can cut your fuel costs by half. Increase the number of people in the car-pool to four and you reduce your travel costs to a quarter of what it costs you to drive alone. No other fuel saving method provides such immediate and effective savings,” says Janse van Rensburg.

And, there are other trips, aside from the work commute, that can be shared – car-pooling on school runs and trips to the gym for instance. In countries like the US, it’s commonplace for parents to take turns with others transporting their kids in the same direction. In South Africa, not so much. The grapple for parking bays outside schools is testament to that. While school car-pools offer the opportunity to save on fuel, it’s also a chance for parents to free-up some time for themselves when it’s someone else’s turn to ferry.

“Make it your strategy to use your car less. Start talking to friends and colleagues who travel the same roads as you daily. The crux is that driving less translates into lower petrol consumption,” urges Janse van Rensburg.

He offers these fuel saving tips:

  • Plan your outings and errands so that you can do all of those which are in the same vicinity at the same time rather than taking your car out to travel the same route on different days.
  • Don't speed. The faster you drive the more petrol you use.
  • Avoid stop-start driving. This wastes petrol.
  • Accelerate slowly. “Flooring it” guzzles petrol.
  • Don’t ride the clutch or brakes because it increases fuel consumption and will also wear them down faster.
  • Keep a manual transmission in the highest gear possible without straining the engine.
  • Close the car's windows when driving. An open window creates a drag that increases fuel consumption by as much as 20 percent.
  • Do not carry unnecessary weight in your car because the heavier the load, the more petrol your car uses.
  • Optimise the efficiency of your car by carrying out regular services and ensuring that tyres are appropriately inflated.

Janse van Rensburg concludes with the following advice: “If the people in the car-pool all chip in to cover the costs of petrol and vehicle wear and tear, your insurance policy won’t be affected. Car-pools won’t be covered though if the activity of giving people lifts is a source of revenue for the insured.”

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