Did you know that it takes thousands of years for fossil fuels to become the petrol you fill your tank with?
Originating from the fossils of animals and plants, petroleum (crude oil) needs to be extracted from the earth, refined into petrol or diesel, and transported and stored under precise conditions. This is why petrol is such a big expense for a car owner. South African motorists have it tougher than many, as our petrol is expensive and we consume a great deal.
Out of 61 countries on the Bloomberg Global Fuel Price Index, South Africa is 55th in affordability. Only in Mexico do people spend more of their paychecks filling up their tanks each year. While you cannot control the cost of fuel, you can control the way you drive to make filling up your tank a little easier on your wallet. Derek Kirkby, Technical Director at Ford Driving Skills for Life, brings us five technologies that can help to limit your visits to the pump.
- Adaptive cruise control
You might think that cruise control was introduced to appease our lazier side, but this smart feature can actually help to save fuel in two ways. When driving on highways, it keeps you from needlessly driving at faster and less efficient speeds. It also helps you maintain a constant speed, which means you don’t waste fuel by unnecessarily braking and accelerating.
Sometimes you have to wait – in the parking lot, outside the school, or at the drive-through. Keeping your engine running while idling wastes fuel, so when your vehicle is safely parked for more than a couple of minutes, turn off the engine. You’ll use less fuel starting your engine back up again than you would if you kept it running for several minutes.
- Active Park Assist
Most of us have wasted time and fuel looking for an easy and convenient parking spot. Active Park Assist can help you assess if a parking spot is the right size, as well as steer your vehicle into the spot while you control only the accelerator and brakes.
A pre-programed key allows you to place limits on some in-car features, set your vehicle’s maximum speed and keep track of how far it is driven. Speeding wastes fuel and fuel economy decreases rapidly at speeds above 80 km/h. By setting the vehicle’s speed limit, your guest driver won’t be able to override the set speed by fully depressing the accelerator pedal or by using cruise control.
Make sure you don’t clock any unnecessary kilometres by planning ahead and mapping the most efficient route to your destination. A good GPS setup will do the trick. SYNC® 3 with navigation helps you find the way using simple voice commands as well as view your distance covered, trip time and distance-to-empty for two separate trips. For an extra fuel-efficient push, try combining trips. Starting up a cold engine repeatedly for many short trips will use more fuel than going on a single, longer trip. So when you have to drive for errands, get as many accomplished as you can in one trip to maximise your fuel economy.
Car manufacturers all over the world are developing smarter and greener engines, and Ford is no exception.
Source: Ford South Africa. Image: Pixabay