Monday, May 22, 2006

Slow is smart

A burning issue: As road vehicle fuel costs climb, visits to fuel stations are a quick way to burn money. I've been aware for some time of the relationship between speed and fuel consumption and now, this is dramatically confirmed by carefully-conducted tests of various models of cars. It doesn't matter whether it's petrol or diesel, gas-guzzling SUV or hybrid, fuel consumption soars as your driving speed goes up.

Steer us to diesels: That was the title of a piece I wrote for the Telegraph Magazine many years ago. It made the still-valid point that, mile for mile and size for size, diesel cars are up to 30% more efficient than petrol. Even the so-called 'economical' hybrids still can't touch the best small diesels. I have just about the most economical car on the road - Ford's best kept secret - a diesel Fusion. (See what Green Consumer guide says about its fuel consumption.) Its CO2 emissions are just 116grams per kilometre and I find that it averages around 65mpg/3.6 litres per 100 kilometres. It's surprisingly roomy and more economical than the best hybrid. Why doesn't everyone buy something similar? I got mine second hand a year ago.

Slow down for the planet! So with an economical car AND by driving gently - that's no violent acceleration and braking; keeping to speed limits and cruising at much less than the 70mph speed limit where it applies - you can start making a big difference to your emissions (and bank balance) right away. Oh, and better for the planet too!

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