Auto industry rallies to boost fuel efficiency and save UK drivers £6.8bn EVERY YEAR

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 10:52
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COST: Can automotive group save you money?

Motorists could collectively save more than £6.8billion every year if they make simple changes to driving style, an automotive industry group have claimed.

Joining forces to promote fuel-efficient driving, several of the UK automotive industry’s leading bodies claim £200-a-year fuel cutbacks are within every driver’s reach.

The group believes that the average motorist could improve fuel efficiency by 20% and achieve or exceed official EU mpg figures by taking simple action.

They claim that without affecting time or speed of travel, a series of simple driving tips could reduce vehicle emissions by a fifth and improve road safety.

The bodies involved are the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the AA, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), Guild of Motoring Writers, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), Motor Codes and the RAC.

Mike Baunton, Interim Chief Executive of the SMMT, said: “Motorists could save around 20% on fuel costs by making a few simple changes to the way they drive.

“We have rallied as an industry to communicate this message at all levels so motorists have the skills to save money and help the environment.

“Official European mpg figures are a guide to how cars can perform, but the biggest factor in getting maximum mpg is the driver and that’s why we’re so keen to help drivers realise the benefits.”

Helping motorists to achieve or surpass official mpg figures is an important part of the move, the group claims.

They say the potential difference between the EU laboratory test can be confusing and industry believes it is important continually to help and educate drivers.

Quentin Willson, motoring journalist, said: “Everybody can make a dramatic difference to their mpg if they learn the simple craft of driving economically.

“Gentle pedal pressure, anticipation and watching the trip computer can improve economy by as much as 20%.

“Consumers aren’t taught how to save fuel and its time they were.”

Fuel Economy Tips

  • Read the road – Anticipating the actions of other motorists and the road ahead can reduce harsh acceleration and braking, cutting down fuel use on every journey.
  • Reduce drag – Simple fixes such as removing roof/cycle racks when not in use or keeping windows closed at high speed helps vehicles to remain streamlined.
  • Keep tyres inflated – In the UK around 10million cars typically have dangerously under-inflated tyres. Correct inflation would save one million tonnes of COemissions and around £440million in fuel costs per year.
  • Remove excess weight – Removing unnecessary items from a vehicle is a cheap and easy way to reduce fuel consumption.
  • Be energy smart – Only use air conditioning systems when necessary, opening windows at lower speeds can better for fuel efficiency.
  • Consider a driving efficiency course – Making a 20% cut in your fuel bill could add pounds to your pocket, so investing in a driving efficiency course could pay for itself.
  • Regularly service your car – Simple maintenance such as using manufacturer-approved oil, replacing air filters and checking wheel alignment can make an important difference to fuel consumption.
  • Buy a newer vehicle – Today’s cars are around 23% more efficient than they were just 10 years ago, so motorists upgrading vehicles stand to save even more.

Industry Reaction

Edmund King, President of the AA, said:

“At 43mpg, improving your car’s fuel efficiency by just one mile per gallon saves at least 3p a litre at the pump.

“With a saving of £1.55 from a small tank or more than £370 a year, how much more incentive does a driver need?

“Eco driving not only saves fuel but can save lives.

“All the techniques required to preserve fuel, such as sticking to sensible speeds, can also preserve life.

“A fuel efficient driver is a safer driver.

“The AA Trust offers free eco/safe driving courses to new drivers at risk.”

Gerry Keaney, Chief Executive of the BVRLA, said:

“UK companies operate some of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on our roads, but many of these cars and vans are not being used to their full carbon reduction potential due to the way they are driven.

“By encouraging staff to adopt a more efficient driving style, firms can cut carbon emissions and save on their fuel costs.

“It is a no-brainer.”

Richard Aucock, Chairman of the Guild of Motoring Writers, said:

“Motoring journalists are all too aware that readers are very concerned with the fuel efficiency of vehicles, and show great interest in features offering guidance on how to improve fuel economy.

“Such professionals are well placed to help explain to readers what steps to take in order to get more miles per gallon, and I feel sure this new initiative by the SMMT is just what’s needed to coordinate industry efforts in helping motorists save cash.”

Neil Greig, Director of Policy at the IAM, said:

“The official mpg figures are developed in scientific conditions, so matching them to the real world is difficult.

“But they are very useful when you are choosing your next car.

“Eco driving works and we would urge all drivers to give it a try – it will save your money.

“A light right foot is the key to saving fuel.”

Chris Mason, Managing Director of Motor Codes, said:

“There is often a barrage of information to be faced when buying or servicing a car and it’s important to remember to take time to digest what you’re being told.

“If you’re uncertain, don’t feel awkward about asking – it’s what dealers and responsible garage owners are there for.

“If you’d like to talk things through with an independent expert, give the Motor Codes advice line a call on 0800 692 0825.”

David Bizley, Technical Director of the RAC, said:

“The best tip for fuel-efficient driving has to be getting rid of the heavy foot habit because that leads to filling up far more frequently and spending far more at the pumps than is necessary.

“Gentle acceleration and deceleration, and keeping a consistent speed makes for fuel-efficient driving which is also safe driving.

“This is not just good for the pocket, but good for the environment and other motorists.”

Image courtesy of Images_of_Money, with thanks.