BusinessCar Office Blog: 13 October 2008 - Look after the pennies...
13 October 2008
Author: Tom Webster
BusinessCar office yesterday
Driver-training firm the IAM invited me to come and sample its new fuel-saving 'ecolution' course
First lap: Fuel consumption - 56.8mpg, Average speed - 17mph
When driver-training company the IAM invited me to come and sample its new fuel saving 'ecolution' course, I was doubtful it could teach me much. I've been on a couple of such courses and thought I knew all the tricks.
When I learned the car I was driving was a Kia Ceed S with the same 1.6-litre diesel engine as my long-term Hyundai i30, I rubbed my hands together with glee - this was going to be a breeze.
I still thought this after completing the first lap of the roads around the IAM's headquarters in Chiswick, west London. My instructor Mike Fletcher let me drive in a normal manner to get a 'before' reading. I was chuffed to get a reading of 56.8mpg over the four-mile route by using every road reading, gear selection and hanging back technique possible. It was especially pleasing as the Ceed's official urban mpg is 52.3.
But Mike is one of the IAM's top instructors and had a few more skills to impart. He had me reading the road so closely that things started appearing before my eyes. For example, traffic lights were assessed to see how long they were likely to stay red to see if it was worth killing the engine.
The most helpful tip was to read the road as if you were riding a pushbike and use a relative amount of power. This had me coasting on declines and building up speed before I hit inclines rather than on them.
All this amounted to an increase in efficiency. My final lap read as follows:
Fuel consumption - 63.2mpg, Average speed 19mph.
I may have been helped by a slightly reduced traffic flow second time round, but this was still an 11% increase on what I considered to be a decent figure.
Given you can get eight drivers trained in one day for around £360, this is a course that could very quickly pay for itself.