Petrol diesel

While it’s still on the early side to tell with certainty, indications are there will be good petrol and diesel price news in January 2023. Image via Pixabay

‘Ketchup, toothpaste’: Here are EIGHT petrol-saving hacks to be wary of

SA motorists are warned against trying these eight petrol-saving gimmicks; petrol pills, toothpaste, ketchup, Coca-cola and more.

Petrol diesel

While it’s still on the early side to tell with certainty, indications are there will be good petrol and diesel price news in January 2023. Image via Pixabay

The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert is warning South African motorists against trying various petrol-saving gimmicks such as dishwashing pills, ketchup, Coca-Cola, toothpaste, and more in the hopes that it will decrease consumption.  

Herbert told Businesstech: “It cannot be stressed enough that the only thing intended to go into your fuel tank is fuel.”  

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MasterDrive, a provider of specific driver training programmes in South Africa, also rubbished claims that fuel pills can improve fuel consumption by up to 30%. The company also warns motorists against trying hacks such as toothpaste, ketchup, dishwashing pills, or Coca-cola as they will likely damage your vehicle.  

Energy group Sasol also called the ‘pill’ a scam and shared it tested the pills in four different types of car engines and the results showed no difference to the consumption metrics at all.  

Fuel pills are ineffective according to international studies and result in negative effects on your engine in various ways, primarily by causing carbon build-up.  

The MasterDrive CEO adds:

“Now, a gimmick is making the rounds showing the use of Coca-Cola instead of fuel. The company associated with this video has since distanced itself from it, however, if you were wondering if Coca-Cola is a safe substitute for fuel, the answer is no. You are likely to do damage to your vehicle that will cost much more than the potential savings.”  

ALSO READ:WATCH | Experts warn against use of ‘fuel-saving’ petrol pills [Video]


South African motorists saw a drop in the price of petrol in August by 132 cents per litre, and despite a big drop in the price of petrol and diesel, the cost per litre to fill up remains high, meaning motorists are still trying out some of these gimmicks to save on their bills.  

A list of petrol-saving hacks to be wary of include:  

  • Ketchup or tomato sauce: This has no benefit and will do damage to your engine, fuel injectors, and fuel filters.  
  • Plug-in devices: These are used by mechanics to test engines and read results, but recent adverts say they can set reset the computer-controlled fuel ration. This, however, is an output port, meaning it does not accept incoming signals making it useless in reducing consumption.  
  • Dishwasher tablets and toothpaste: Businesstech reveals that both these claims are completely false with no proven research to support them and have since been revealed as clickbait.  
  • Buying fuel early in the morning: Some motorists believe the colder it is, the denser fuel is. The publication adds that fuel is stored underground and temperatures only vary by a few degrees which is not enough to change its density.  
  • Overinflating tires: This is meant to reduce resistance and friction while driving and therefore increase mileage. It is proven that correct air pressure is what actually saves fuel and increases tyre lifespan.  
  • Switching off the aircon: This method depends on various factors. Keeping the aircon off and driving with windows closed can save fuel. However, if the windows are open then you increase drag and affect aerodynamics which actually increases fuel consumption.  

Herbert advises drivers to be cautious of the techniques to save fuel especially and says if any gimmick involves putting foreign substances into fuel tanks and if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.  

“Instead, you will achieve more effective results with tried and tested means of reducing fuel consumption.”   

He also says motorists can reduce fuel by keeping a 3-second following distance, avoiding speeding, anticipating changing traffic conditions, avoiding reckless driving, planning routes, keeping revs below 3,000 RPMs, and removing any unnecessary weight from their vehicle. 

ALSO READ:Tablets in the tank? SA experts warn against use of ‘fuel-saving’ petrol pills