Thursday, February 14, 2013

South Africa’s petrol price is regulated by government and consumers have little choice but to absorb the latest 41 cents per litre hike on petrol.

While the country awaits an answer from government to calls to change the way in which the price is calculated, Dial Direct Insurance says South Africans reeling at pump prices can soften the blow by planning their driving better.

“The petrol price has been on an upward trend for the last ten years, rising at an average of 11% each year. When you consider that this time last year, inland motorists were paying R1.29 less per litre for Unleaded 93 fuel than they are now, this recent hike is yet another shocking blow.

“Motorists can make the rising petrol price less painful by being smarter about how and when they drive. Sure, it requires some behavioural and lifestyle changes, but they are worth the effort,” says Dial Direct’s Senior Executive, Bradley Du Chenne.

Certainly the most effective and immediate way to slash car running costs is to join a car pool. Sharing lifts ultimately means using your car less, with fewer trips to the pumps. “By commuting to work with just one person you could cut your monthly fuel costs by half, while saving wear and tear on your car. Add two more to the car pool and you cut your petrol and car running expenses by 75%. No other fuel saving method offers this level of saving.

“It is however important for motorists to check what their insurance provider’s terms and conditions are regarding car pools because cover could be affected. Dial Direct will cover car pool cars provided the activity of giving people lifts is not a source of revenue for the insured. So, if the people in the car pool all chip in to cover the costs of petrol and vehicle wear and tear, the insurance policy won’t be affected,” says Du Chenne.

Obviously driving less translates into lower petrol consumption, which is why Du Chenne recommends that car owners start planning their driving more effectively so that they avoid unnecessary car trips and mileage. “Plan your outings and errands so that you can tackle a number of them on the same route at once rather than taking your car out unnecessarily to drive to the same vicinity on different days. Using a GPS can also reduce petrol and wear and tear costs, as well as save time, because the shortest distance to your destination is plotted for you so you effective drive fewer kilometres.

“A leading GPS manufacturer has actually shown that the use of a satellite navigation solution reduces the number of kilometres driven by 16% and reduces travel time by 18% when driving in an unknown area to an unknown destination. Motorists driving in an unfamiliar environment make significantly fewer stops and turn around fewer times to get to their destination when using a GPS,” says Du Chenne.

He concludes saying that vehicle owners can also save petrol by optimising the efficiency of their cars by carrying our regular services and ensuring that tyres are appropriately inflated.

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