Poor driving skills drive up fuel costs, says motor writer

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PETALING JAYA: A senior editor, with vast experience in writing about the automotive industry, has offered tips to drivers, now with petrol prices changing weekly.

Yamin Vong says drivers need to take another look at their driving habits.

“Drive gently. Do not press the oil pedal hard as if you are driving in a ‘car race’ when you are near the traffic lights.”

He added such action would affect petrol consumption by as much as 30% compared with driving at normal speeds.

The government had last week started the weekly float system that will bring petrol price changes on a weekly basis.

The new petrol prices for RON95, RON97 and diesel will be announced on Wednesday nights, and the prices will take effect at midnight.

Previously, petrol prices would change on a monthly basis, based on world market prices. This came after the government removed the subsidy system for fuel in December 2014.

The Petrol Dealers Association of Malaysia (PDAM) was reported as saying they agreed with the weekly price scheme but were against the setting of a ceiling price, adding this may create a price war among petrol stations.

Ceiling price is the maximum price set by the government on a product and this seeks to protect the consumers’ rights.

It was also reported that consumers voiced their concern over the weekly prices because they would face difficulties planning their spending.

Vong said those worried about high fuel prices could opt for an “energy efficient vehicle” (EEV).

“There are about 60 car models that the Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) has certified as an EEV.”

MAI defined EEV as “vehicles that meet defined specifications in terms of carbon emission levels (g/km) and fuel consumption (l/100 km)”.

Perodua Axia is one of the locally produced EEVs.

Besides that, Vong said drivers should plan their trips.

“Do not make unnecessary trips. Plan your shopping.”

Vong said consumers should not neglect their car service schedules and tyre pressure.

“Check if the tyres have enough air pressure.

“Also follow the guidelines on your car’s service booklets and change the relevant components when necessary,” Vong said.

He said changing the air filter and lubricant oil regularly would also contribute to fuel savings.

Malaysia Consumers Movement (MCM) president Darshan Singh Dhillon concurred with Vong’s views.

“Use smaller capacity cars if your job requires you to travel extensively within the city,” he told FMT.

He was responding to a question on what advice MCM would give motorists who have to travel regularly for work.

Darshan said consumers could also opt for public transport.

“This will not only help to save costs but also reduce congestion.”