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British motorists urged to go electric and cut £24.5 billion from fuel bills

By Kyle Linsay
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 - 18:00

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British motorists are missing out on savings of almost £24.5 billion every year by not taking advantage of ultra low emission motoring, according to new research released today.

The figures, from the government and industry-backed Go Ultra Low campaign, show that – while the average cost to fuel a petrol or diesel car is around 12p-per-mile – the equivalent cost for an ultra low emission vehicle is just 2p-per-mile.

With the average car travelling around 7,500 miles each year, the difference in annual spend between the two options is a substantial £7505 – equating to tens of billions of pounds across the nation’s 32.6 million cars6.

To help promote cost-efficient motoring even further, Go Ultra Low has enlisted the support of a raft of experts to provide consumers with handy hints and tips such as winding up windows, de-cluttering car boots and smooth acceleration. They have been put together with the aim of helping consumers enjoy the thrill of driving, but on a tighter budget.

Led by the nation’s newest favourite money-saver, Ashleigh Swan, Go Ultra Low’s panel also includes automotive journalists, senior industry figures and current electric car owners.

Mother of three, Ashleigh commented: “Like millions of other parents across the UK, I know that ferrying the kids around can be an expensive business. Fuel bills are the most noticeable regular outlay, and every time we pull up at a petrol station, my husband and I wince at the price of a full tank. Discovering the thrill of travelling in an electric car, as well as the extremely low running costs that come with it, has been a real eye-opener.”

Hetal Shah, Head of the Go Ultra Low campaign, added: “After buying a house, a car is the second most expensive purchase that most of us will ever make. Consumers are therefore looking for an option that gives them better value for money on an ongoing basis. With fuel costs from just 2p-per-mile, no road tax, no congestion charge and free parking in many locations, electric cars certainly present a compelling proposition. Put simply: the more you drive, the more you save.

“Added to that, there is now a whole host of electric vehicles available to suit any lifestyle, from city run-arounds and family hatchbacks to 4x4s and sports cars.”

Find out more at www.goultralow.com

Go Ultra Low’s Ultimate Money Saving Top Tips

  1. Clear out your boot
    Steve Fowler, Editor-in-Chief at Auto Express and Carbuyer, said: “Don’t use your car as an extension of your garden shed – clear out unnecessary stuff from the boot and inside the car. Superfluous items mean extra weight and, as far as a car’s economy is concerned, weight is the enemy of efficiency.”
  2. Stay pumped up
    Jen Walshaw, a mummy blogger at MumInTheMadHouse.com, said: “Someone told me a couple of years ago that keeping tyres pumped up means you get many more miles to the gallon – I gave it a go and it worked: we noticed the difference immediately. That would definitely be my top tip.”
  3. Be sensitive
    David Shaw-Stewart, a founding member of the Go Ultra Low Owners’ Club, said: “Particularly with a plug-in hybrid car, it’s important to have a sensitive foot: keeping smooth acceleration stops the petrol engine kicking in – using the electric motor more will save you money.”
  4. Stay cool, but not too cool
    Peter Burgess, Director of Motoring Research, said: “The refrigeration part of your car’s heating system – i.e. the air conditioning system – needs to take energy away from the engine, which makes the economy worse. On the latest cars, it’s not so bad, but the older the car, the more it impacts.”
  5. Charge cheaply
    Paul Smith, a founding member of the Go Ultra Low Owners’ Club, said: “Some energy companies have cheaper tariffs in the evenings and at weekends, so these are the best times to charge your electric car.”
  6. Go easy
    Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “By far the biggest influence on fuel consumption is you, the driver. Aggressive driving can increase the amount of fuel burned by more than a third and it’s bad news for things like tyres and brakes too. Also cars tend to be least fuel efficient at quite low or quite high speeds so the message must be go easy with the right foot however your vehicle is powered.”
  7. Choose quality
    Honest John, of HonestJohn.co.uk, said: “If you’re driving a car with an internal combustion engine, use high-quality petrol or diesel because the additives in it give extra lubrication and cleaning to your engine. What’s more, the higher octane/cetane means the engine develops more torque at low revs so you can change up earlier and benefit from improved economy.”
  8. Plan ahead
    Paul Barker, Editor of BusinessCar, said: “Journey planning is important to make sure you are travelling on the cheapest route. Choose the ‘most efficient route’ in your satnav system.  If you’re in an EV, you can plan your charging along the route – almost every motorway service station is now equipped with at least one rapid charger, many of which are free to use.”
  9. Wind it up
    Daniel Bevis, freelance automotive journalist and blogger at SuckSqueezeBangBlow.co, said: “Driving with your windows down increases aerodynamic drag, meaning that the engine has to work harder to propel the car; the faster you’re driving, the more drag this is creating. At motorway speeds, your engine can be over 20% less efficient with the windows down – so roll them up and watch your mpg figure go up with them.”
  10. Food, glorious (-ly inexpensive) food
    Ashleigh Swan said: “We’ve made the mistake many times of buying very expensive lunches en route. Don’t do it! Far better, and cheaper – if you’re going on long family journeys – to prepare any food you need in advance.”

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