Needless to say, the increase in fuel prices and the fact that it will continue to go up every year has had a heavyweight effect on the monthly budgets of many Egyptians.
Focussing on the automotive sector, the best thing is to find ways to save some money spent on fuel because in the past fuel prices were reasonable enough to comfort car owners who maybe never thought it was quite as important to find ways to save fuel.
Starting with the easiest of the ways, consider jumping out of your car every time you plan a day out. Knowing that you’re going out to one destination and back home should increase the chances.
The existence of a comfortable and elegant transportation option like Uber makes it sacrifice free. It still looks like your everyday car but with more exclusivity getting it chauffeured.
Yes, these kinds of companies like Uber and Careem raised their fair as fuel prices increased but let’s make a simple calculation. If you’re going to a wedding in a luxurious hotel, you will have to valet your car for hours after midnight, and you’re not going anywhere after the event but back home.
If going with the personal car is the option, here are the anticipated expenses: paying for fuel and consuming other parts and liquids in your car like tyres, oil, etc. The list is not over.
You will still give quite some money to the valet. If you try to park somewhere on the street you will risk damaging your car and paying a fortune to fix it. And at the end of the night, you will find someone standing by your car asking for parking fees to be paid.
So at the end of the day the total money spent will definitely exceed the Uber fare with all the risks and stress added. So maybe we can consider the increase in fuel prices as a blessing, by finding several ways to rest your personal car like sharing Uber with your friends to and from work and carpooling some mates throughout the week.
As well as lifting some pressure off your budget and car maintenance fees, it will also keep the roads flowing with less traffic jams and pollution.
Another easy way to save fuel is to sell your car and get a new one with the latest technology in emotions and fuel saving based on a forced induction engine.
Most naturally aspirated engines like the popular 1.6L four cylinder engine are fed with gasoline 92 which is priced at LE6.75 right now, not far from gasoline 95 which costs LE7.75.
New cars have so much technology in them that they bring out on the road so much power out of small engines that save fuel and release less emissions.
So how can you buy technology that saves you lots of money worth of fuel in the long run? The B38 3 cylinder 1.5L turbocharged engine from BMW. This engine brings out 220nm of torque and 134hp and can bring a 2018 Mini cooper to a top speed of 210km/h.
This engine should be fed gasoline 95 and consumes 5.3L every 100km which may decrease if the start stop function is activated. When compared to an old technology engine like in a 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer EX 1.6L, which feeds on 92 gasoline and consumes 7.3L every 100km, of course the new technology wins.
We are not comparing cheap cars with expensive ones, but there are new technologies emerging even in the less pricey cars, as there are mandatory laws and regulations in Europe and several parts of the world that encourages car companies to save fuel and decrease emissions every year, so most car companies are going with the flow especially with the cars assembled within the EU.
The measures and numbers might look small but in the long run it will pile up on the yearly budget. It’s a fact that when cars get old they require expensive servicing in order to keep them running close to their original power and fuel consumption figures.
The third way to go is to service your car to the maximum, meaning that you go according to the manufacturer service book. Many people in Egypt are convinced that servicing a car is mainly changing liquids, brake pads and checking tyre pressure.
For the other car parts they wait until something breaks down. Let’s talk for example about the fuel induction system in most cars, starting from not following the instructions for the recommended fuel grade for your car because you are used to using the cheap one.
From here the problems start to build as the car drive components start to operate strangely, affecting the manufacturer stock figures which were the results of tests on a specific fuel grade.
The car then starts to consume more fuel which in itself is harming the fuel pump(s), fuel lines, fuel filter, fuel injectors, the engine and the transmission and more. So by not using the recommended fuel grade by the manufacturer you will end up getting a car that consumes more fuel than it should and in the short and long term you will end up paying a fortune for damaged parts.
So the key to keeping your car, at least stuck to the figures of fuel consumption, is by following the service manual, checking tyre pressure every two weeks and making sure it matches the info on the door panels.
A very important factor is driving style, making sure not to burn fuel unnecessarily. Keeping the car rolling at a constant speed without braking and accelerating too often is a key, as well as on the highways.
Keeping the RPM gauge between 1.5 and 2.5 is the ideal way to get the best combined fuel consumption rate possible.
Don’t keep your engine running for a long time when standing still, remove all the unnecessary payload in the car, and never open the windows on the highway which will affect the aerodynamics and air flow of the car.
There might be many other ways to save fuel. Think about it and challenge your mates.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 5 July 2018 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under headline: Save fuel