Drivers warned of car button which boosts fuel consumption by 20%

Hypermiling: Drivers go to extremes to conserve fuel

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Currently, drivers face average costs of 163.47p per litre for petrol while those using diesel are still being stung by high prices at 180.43p. The RAC says that all prices “should fall” in the coming days and weeks, as should the price of super unleaded.

Since July, drivers have welcomed the price drop after the record breaking costs, with petrol falling almost 30p and diesel down just 18.62p.

The prices also pale in comparison to the costs seen this time last year.

In September 2021, drivers at the pumps were looking at an average price of 135.9p for petrol and 137.62p for diesel.

With the cost of living crisis affecting most Britons this year, most drivers are taking steps to try and reduce their fuel consumption.

According to a recent study, 89 percent of drivers are now using hypermiling techniques to save fuel and money.

This is an increase of 17 percent since April, with energy bills and price fluctuations since then playing a factor.

Many motorists will focus on a few key aspects of the car to try and save money including the weight and internal features like heating and cooling.

Chris Evans, head of content at, compared the use of air conditioning and having the windows open when driving.

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He referenced a 2004 study by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), which looked at the impact of windows open against air conditioning in larger saloons and SUVs.

In the study, there were plenty of variables including how much the windows were open, the aerodynamics of the different cars and how long someone might use the air conditioning.

He said: “As such, the 45mph figure is a guide, but a fairly good one. 

“While all this might seem like a minor issue, getting it wrong can have a notable impact on your fuel economy.

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“Using AC can increase your fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent but opening the windows at higher speeds can increase fuel consumption by as much as 20 percent.”

A number of other studies have also followed, one of which found that hybrid car fuel economy is harder hit by air con use than conventional combustion-only cars.

More research, from Emissions Analytics, found that the impact of air conditioning on hybrid fuel economy was almost twice as much.

Fuel efficiency dropped 6.1 percent in a hybrid car on average, compared to just 3.8 percent for standard petrol car and 4.6 percent for a diesel vehicle.

Mr Evans continued saying: “While the 45mph line is a good guide, things get a bit more complicated when you are in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

“In these situations, it is probably best to avoid using air con or opening your windows. 

“However we know that in hot conditions that might be uncomfortable, so as a solution you could turn on the air con but close your air vents.

“The air con merely recycles the cabin air rather than drawing the air from outside, where there is nose-to-tail line of traffic all belching out exhaust fumes.”

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