How to save on fuel as prices hit record high

Traffic jam along University way, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Fuel prices in Kenya have shot up tremendously, according to the latest pump prices review by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA).

On Sunday, May 14, EPRA announced that the price of petrol has gone up by Sh3.40, kerosene increased by Sh15.19 and diesel up by Sh6.40. 
The new prices now force motorists to find ways of saving on fuel.

In this week’s motor review, we look at ways a motorist can save on fuel considering the harsh economic times not only in Kenya but across the globe.

Motor experts have documented proven studies that a car that is not properly maintained burns up to 30 per cent more on fuel.

For instance, a Toyota Voxy that previously would cover the 488 kilometres between Nairobi and Mombasa using 40 litres of fuel worth Sh7,172 -  assuming the car burns a litre of petrol per 12 km covered - will now need Sh7,308 to cover the same distance.

However, for such a car to achieve the perfect consumption, all components of the vehicle need to work optimally. These include; the gearbox, the engine, braking system, spark plugs, cooling system, suspension and even the tyre pressure levels.

Below are a few tips to help save some coins that would otherwise be spent on excessive fuel consumption.

Car service/Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your vehicle can improve fuel efficiency by a huge percentage. Always follow the manufacturer's recommended service schedule for oil changes, air filter replacements, and other maintenance tasks.

Vehicle weight

Always ensure you get rid of unnecessary items from your car, especially the heavy ones that increase weight since extra weight requires more energy to move hence the increase in fuel consumption.

Vehicle idling

With excessive traffic especially in urban towns, always avoid unnecessary idling. If you're going to be stationary for more than a minute, it's more fuel-efficient to turn off your engine rather than letting it idle.

Smooth acceleration

For a healthy dependable engine, it is advisable to always maintain a steady speed and avoid rapid acceleration and frequent braking which significantly increase fuel consumption. This can be achieved if the motorist maintains a consistent speed while on highways. Light-footed drivers tend to have better fuel consumption.


Aerodynamics dictate that higher speeds result in increased wind resistance, which can significantly impact fuel efficiency of your car. Observe speed limits and drive at a moderate pace.

Use of Air Conditioner (AC)

Use the air conditioner only when necessary. Research has proven that travelling with the AC running increases fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent. Using the AC while on long trips increases your fuel consumption, especially if you are driving a car with a relatively small engine – anything below 1,800cc. Consider utilising other ventilation options, like open windows or vents, when weather permits.

Windows rolled down

Driving with windows completely lowered, increases drag, and leads to higher fuel consumption as the car has to struggle against the wind resistance.

Tyre pressure

Always ensure your tires are properly inflated, as underinflated or uneven tires can increase fuel consumption since the car will be unstable on the road and hence drag.

Anticipate traffic flow

With applications such as Google Maps, always pay attention to the road ahead to anticipate traffic conditions.

Combine trips

In order to save that drop of fuel, you can achieve this by planning ahead on your trips to reduce unnecessary driving by combining multiple errands into a single trip. This will not only help reduce fuel consumption but also your time.


Last but not least, in as much as the idea is not common locally due to various reasons including security, it is always economical to carpool by sharing rides with others; this includes neighbours and workmates whenever feasible.