According to the Automobile Association (AA), SA’s motorists are facing one of the steeper petrol price hikes experienced in recent months, with the price expected to rise by between 70c and 75c in December.

Based on mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund, the price of diesel is expected to rise by around 60c.

The AA says we can thank the plummeting rand for the hefty increase that will inevitably leave more South Africans under severe financial strain.

“The rand is testing one-year lows against the dollar. In addition, there have been heavy increases in international oil prices,” says the AA.

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As if this wasn’t bad enough, economists are warning that the rand could plummet further if credit ratings agencies downgrade the country’s sovereign debt a another notch – a highly likely outcome.

“We cannot ignore signs that South Africa may face a further round of downgrades by ratings agencies, possibly even before December,” the AA says.

“Concerns over government’s fiscal discipline are likely to continue weighing heavily on the rand, and if these factors combine with continued oil strength, South Africans will face heavy fuel price hikes for the remainder of 2017 and into early 2018.”

Here are a few tips that will help you stretch your petrol that much further:

1. Keep weight down by removing unnecessary items in the car. Get rid of any junk in your boot.

2. Use a vehicle’s climate control instead of opening windows. A car’s aerodynamic efficiency is best with the windows shut.

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3. If you can, get a car with cruise control. It’s a good tool for consistent, linear throttle inputs, which human legs have no hope of mustering. It’ll save you fuel in the long run.

4. Adopt a smooth driving style and avoid harsh throttle and unnecessary braking on open roads. with good timing when executing overtaking manoeuvres.

5. Plan ahead by choosing quieter roads or embark on journeys during off-peak times.

6. Keep your car’s exterior clean – in fact, polish it often. Drag forms when it passes over dirty surfaces and increases fuel consumption.

7. Keep tyre pressures at specified levels and ensure equilibrium at all four corners. A hobbling car will quaff its fuel supply.