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A Month's Free Fuel

January 6th 2008

UK Fuel Price rises past a pound per litre

Well, we knew it would happen, the cost of fuel has finally passed the pound a litre mark here in the UK. And, let’s face it, the cost is going to keep rising. The government environmentalists will keep increasing the tax we pay to try and force us out of our beloved cars and onto smelly, dirty, infrequent, unreliable and uncomfortable public transport (obviously it depends where you live - when I go to London I am happy to use buses and the tube ’cause it works and it’s the quickest way to get around - where I live and work it’s not viable). The price of oil will continue to rise as we pass peak production and supplies start to dwindle, so until greener "bio" fuels are more readily available we’ll just have to live with it.

With that in mind, I decided to see if I could save any fuel by changing my driving style. And you know what? It works (not a surprise really). And it didn’t take much effort either...and it didn’t really affect my journey times.

I drive about 20,000 miles a year and a fair chunk of that is commuting to and from work. This involves a mixture of fast motorway, congested motorway, open B-road and into a seriously congested town centre (we’re talking 3 miles in 40 minutes congested here). For the last 3 tanks of diesel I’ve been actively driving with a view to saving fuel. I’ve been; accelerating a bit more gently, changing gear a bit sooner and driving in the highest gear that the car can comfortably manage. I’ve been consciously easing off the gas a little and it really doesn’t affect the speed you’re doing - I haven’t even turned into Captain Slow. I’ve dropped my motorway speed by 5mph (not saying what to) and I’ve refilled the tank to the brim before the red light comes on.

So, how much difference has it made? Well, over 3 tanks of "economical" driving my average was 31.8 mpg compared to the previous 3 tanks of "normal" driving at 29.2 mpg and this was over the same routes and in camparable traffic conditions. The Einsteins amongst you will have already worked out that that’s a saving of 2.6 mpg. OK it doesn’t sound much, but for me, over a year and 20,000 miles, that equates to a saving of 255 litres, or £268 at £1.05 per litre. To put it another way, that’s a month’s free motoring. Or enough of a saving to allow me to give the RX8 a good blast at the weekends without feeling guilty.

Obviously, 3 weeks is a short test period, so I’ll carry on and see how it goes. Why not give it a try yourself. That way you’ll be helping the environment and you’ll save yourself a few quid while you’re at it.


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