Fuel hike: Durban tightens its belt

2014-02-06 00:00

DURBAN motorists paid almost R14 a litre for petrol yesterday and they are bracing themselves for an even tougher economic climate.

Those who spoke to The Witness said they were already taking steps, from not making unnecessary trips to cancelling planned holidays or cutting expenses in their businesses.

The Automobile Association (AA) has warned that if the rand’s depreciation continues this way, a price of R16 per litre at the pumps is possible in the medium term.

Hillcrest businessperson Abraham Harmse, who drives more than a 100 km every day to visit clients, said he had been spending about R3 000 a month to fill up his 2005 Land Rover Discovery TD5. “Every time I leave my house, it cost me a minimum of R150 or up to R250,” Harmse told The Witness.

“Almost 90% of my costs go for diesel. The more we spend on fuel, the less we spend on what we really need.”

He said his clients were turning to bigger businesses who can afford to offer their services at a cheaper rate.

“I can’t afford to employ more people and I’m forced to do everything by myself.

“I can’t make ends meet because my fuel is killing me. I can’t even go on holiday because I cannot afford fuel.”

Pieter Meere, who drives a BMW X1 from Westville to central Durban, said he is now planning his routes carefully.

“But as long as they don’t introduce e-tolls, that’s fine,” he laughed.

Nokonwaba Malamlela from Mayville works at Gateway Mall and is considering using a taxi to go to work — she will only use her car if she works the nightshift.

She said she filled petrol to the value of R300 on Tuesday, but needed to refill her tank yesterday.

Taxi driver Sipho Gumede said an increase in the petrol price meant he was taking home less money.

One motorist, Ashley Pillay, said he was not worried about the petrol hikes. “The price of petrol is always going up. I’m used to it now.”

Tips to save fuel

• Do not use your vehicle unnecessarily.

• Plan the most fuel efficient route.

• Adjust weight on right foot of accelerator, drive with first quarter of throttle.

• Learn to read the traffic so that you don’t stop unnecessarily.

• Use correct octane fuel.

• Avoid soft tyres because tyre pressures which are too low not only increase consumption, but also markedly reduce tyre life.

• Avoid stop-start driving as a car moving along steadily will use much less fuel than another constantly stopping and starting.

• Drive smoothly because heavy braking and “flooring” the accelerator both waste fuel.

• Use appropriate gears as lower gears use an excessive amount of fuel.

• Close your windows because opened windows create a drag that increases fuel consumption by as much as 20%.

• Use your handbrake on hills and never ride the clutch to hold your car on an incline.

• Short trips waste excessive amounts of fuel on each start, and they dramatically increase oil dilution, engine wear and are a major cause of premature exhaust failure.

• Consider getting involved in a lift-clubs.

• The shorter the trip, the less fuel you use.

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