Jiří Sedlák lives in a village near Příbram. He works with his wife as a translator and interpreter and travels all over the country. So their household has two cars and high fuel consumption. When the Russians invaded Ukraine and the price of gasoline and diesel rose sharply, they immediately felt at their own expense and began to think about how to save on travel.
“I started by exchanging a car for a motorcycle in March, and if I go alone, I will save a lot. On the Nové Mitrovice – Prague route, instead of about eight liters of diesel, I get three and a half liters of gasoline. But I have to dress a lot, it’s not even ten degrees Celsius in the morning and I wouldn’t ride a motorcycle under other circumstances, I pull it out around twenty, “Sedlák describes.
Photo: Jiří Sedlák Archive
You need to dress properly for the trip. The traditional biker season starts in warmer weather.
His wife Marie replaced the car with public transport. “I will take my wife by motorbike to Příbram, where buses and trains run, and then I will pick her up again from the same place. Even with my ride, it’s cheaper than if she drove both ways on her own directly from where we live, ”says the 52-year-old.
However, it is not always and everywhere possible to travel by public transport, so Marie sometimes also travels by car. Of the two cars that Sedlák has, they chose the one that does not need to add urea to the tank to reduce nitrogen oxides while driving. “Even at the cheapest petrol station, AdBlue has tripled in price,” explains the translator.
They paid further attention to Sedlák to modify the car itself so that it had the lowest possible consumption while driving. First, they replenished the tire pressure to the prescribed values because the underinflated tires increased fuel consumption, and they replaced the oil and air filters, which affects the smooth engine performance and again lower consumption.
In the next step, they removed everything superfluous from the car and left only the mandatory equipment. They themselves were surprised at what they had been driving unnecessarily until then. “It was various boxes, bags, hazelnuts, unnecessary tools and other clutter. Apart from the fact that it will slightly reduce consumption on the kilometers we drive, it is pleasant, as it is now clean there, “Sedlák praises.
He and his wife also began to plan more who would drive various things by car and where. For example, while they used to hand over papers to the authorities, the next day for a doctor’s examination and the third for shopping, today they try to concentrate everything that needs to be done during the week in one way.
At the same time, they plan their errands as far as possible to pass rush hour traffic, when it is often necessary to brake, let the engine idle and start again, which significantly increases fuel consumption. “Thanks to this, we save not only money but also time,” says the translator.
Did you start saving on fuels after the war in Ukraine?
I don’t have to deal with it, I drive a company car
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When driving, he then tries to follow the principles of so-called defensive driving, ie driving smoothly, keeping greater distances from previous cars and estimating their movement, so that he does not have to brake hard, do not start the air conditioning and do not leave the windows ajar all the way. However, he did so before fuel prices rose.
Although the price of petrol has risen by a quarter and the diesel by more than a third since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, the Sedláks have managed to increase travel costs by only a few percent thanks to all austerity measures. Now that fuel prices are falling again after the initial panic and petrol is being refueled at petrol stations by about 13 percent more expensive than before the war and diesel by a quarter, they run even cheaper than in the past.
“The whole planning will take more time, but in the long run it will pay off, moreover, by driving less, the maintenance costs will be reduced,” adds Sedlák.