‘Not worth it!’: Drivers warned of ‘dangerous’ fuel-saving methods

Hypermiling: Drivers go to extremes to conserve fuel

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Despite weeks of near-constant price drops, drivers are seeing the cost of petrol and diesel stagnate. Based on data from RAC Fuel Watch, a motorist will pay an average of 168.59p per litre for unleaded and 183.27p for diesel.

While these prices are a significant drop from the record-breaking prices seen at the beginning of July, many are still struggling, especially with other rising household bills.

With fuel prices soaring in recent months, hypermiling, a driving style where drivers attempt to get the best mileage from their cars, has crossed into the mainstream. 

Hypermilers suggest that their techniques, including measures such as turning off the air-con and driving below the speed limit, can boost a vehicle’s mpg by up to 40 percent.

The official hypermiling website urges drivers to adopt the correct techniques for the road and traffic conditions when using fuel-saving methods, adding that “safety is paramount”.


One technique which is gaining more attention is “drafting”, which some have warned against for potentially leading to accidents.

This involves driving close behind another vehicle, usually a van or lorry, essentially using the forward vehicle’s body to shield your own car from wind and so reduce drag.

It has been used in motorsports for years, as it allows the person following behind to use the aerodynamic advantages to aid in overtaking.

In the UK, tailgating is illegal and this technique could exacerbate the risk of causing a crash.

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Reaction times and braking distance are severely reduced at this range, making a collision more likely should the car in front suddenly slow.

Following too closely is responsible for five percent of traffic collisions, while sudden braking makes up a further five percent of accidents.

Sarah Tooze, consumer editor at CarSite, warned motorists who were looking to dramatically alter their driving habits to save fuel.

She said: “While there is merit in some of the suggestions, some techniques, such as drafting and coasting, are potentially dangerous for the driver and other road users. 

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“Risking an expensive (and potentially fatal) crash in an attempt to save fuel is not worth it.”

According to the latest Department for Transport statistics, reckless driving accounts for 18 percent of all road accidents in the UK. 

Some hypermiling techniques have the potential to endanger both the driver and other road users, so should be avoided.

Instead, drivers are being urged to make smaller changes which can still have a dramatic impact on their fuel economy.

Driving slower has been praised as being the best way to cut fuel costs and still remain safe on the road.

By applying the throttle in a lighter manner, the engine doesn’t have to work as hard and is more efficient. 

This also helps with the longevity of the engine, as parts do not tire out as quickly, saving money on potential repairs in the long term.

A driver on a 45-mile journey from Manchester to Leeds, using an average car, can save around £4.30 if they go at 50mph, rather than the national speed limit on a motorway of 70mph, the RAC claim.

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