Is my car fuel efficient? Here’s how to check

9 July 2019

It’s more important than ever to ensure your car is one of the fuel efficient cars on the road. There are ways to check your fuel economy performance, which will help you save cash.


For us regular drivers on the roads, fuel efficient cars could be the key to saving hundreds of Rands each month, it’s almost impossible to escape the fact that fuel prices have crept up rather dramatically in recent months. From January 2019 to the present day, prices on average have increased by around R3 per litre for both the petrol and diesel pumps. 

It’s therefore more important than ever to ensure your car is one of the fuel efficient cars on the road, working to maximise every extra kilometre you get from your tank of fuel. Thankfully, there are ways to check your fuel economy performance, which will help you keep your finances in check in this current price climate. 

Most modern vehicles these days come with an onboard computer. This piece of technology, which is usually displayed in your instrument cluster or on your centre console screen, keeps a constant track of your distance driven, and how much fuel your car has consumed. From those pieces of information, it can show you an economy figure in litres consumed per 100km driven, or kilometres driven per litre consumed. Each manufacturer has their own unique system, but your vehicle owner’s manual will comprehensively show you how to utilise your own onboard computer.

If your car is an older or a more basic model, it may not include the tech to show you its fuel efficiency numbers. That’s no worry – with a relatively easy fuel consumption formula, or indeed some helpful websites, you can calculate your fuel economy with good precision. As long as you know your distance driven (e.g. 400km) and the litres of fuel you’ve filled up with (e.g. 40), you can do 400 divided by 40 to give you 10 km/l. You can, of course, convert that to 10l/100km. Websites like allow you to easily keep track of all your fill-ups, and does the maths for you. 

If your consumption is lower than you’d like, here are a few fuel saving tips:
• Remove unnecessary weight
• Drive in the highest gear possible without straining the engine
• Be progressive with the throttle
• Lift and coast before braking

However, some cars are fundamentally inefficient – particularly older ones, created at a time where fuel was cheap and efficiency wasn’t a big concern. If you have an old, thirsty car, it may be worth looking at a newer, more frugal model. With that in mind, here are some cheap, cheerful, and most importantly, efficient models currently for sale.

Fuel efficient cars
• VW Polo, 4.5l/100km. Recently updated by VW, the Polo has an upmarket feel, and a dependable, high-tech engine range.
• Ford Figo, 4.1l/100km. Now a couple of years old, the Figo comes with a solid range of petrol and diesel engines, with the latter returning 4.1l/100km.
• Fiat Tipo, 3.7l/100km. With its tried-and-tested 1.3l diesel unit, the Tipo returns a sublime economy figure in a spacious sedan format.
• Toyota Aygo, 4.3l/100km. The Aygo is a great choice for city dwellers. It’s 1.0l engine has a proven track record of reliability and returns great economy.
• Ford Fiesta, 4.3l/100km. Ford’s 1.0l 3-cylinder engine has received huge praise over the years and continues to perform competitively in the new Fiesta.


This article is intended to be used and must be used for informational purposes only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information in this article is strictly at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of the information contained in this article.

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