A new Peugeot diesel 4-door 407 HDi Sedan with a manual transmission, rated at 4.9 l/100km highway in Australia (48 mpg US), achieved a substantial 3.46 l/100km (68 mpg US) when driven from the north coast of Australia to the south by John Taylor, a fuel economy driving expert.
That’s a 30% decrease in fuel consumption on a standard vehicle. Technique matters.
Taylor’s spouse Helen travelled in convoy on the 2,991-kilometer (1,859-mile) journey from Darwin to Adelaide, driving a 407 with an automatic transmission and delivering 4.56 l/100km (51.6 mpg US).
The entire journey was strictly scrutinized, including official police observance by Senior Constable Malcolm Durrant from the Victorian Police Force. The vehicles were also inspected by the NRMA Motoring & Services Dept to have their odometers checked for accuracy and to validate the fuel tanks were factory fitted.
The 407 HDi is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine delivering 100 kW (134 hp) of power and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque. It uses an intercooler for greater combustion efficiency and a variable geometry turbocharger. A particulate filter helps it achieve Euro-4 compliance. CO2 emissions are 155 g/km.
Taylor earlier set a world record when he drove a Peugeot 307 HDi around Australia averaging 3.5 l/100km.
Herewith, John & Helen Taylor’s Top 10 Tips for Economical Driving:
Preparation. Ensure the Vehicle is in top tune, by having it serviced regularly. Watch for black exhaust smoke, which indicates the engine is burning fuel needlessly. Check tyre pressures regularly. Soft tires not only result in up to 5% of your fuel being wasted, they also wear out quicker.
Attitude. Relax! Drive smoothly. Fast starts burn four times as much fuel as gentle acceleration. Observe the traffic flow ahead to avoid sudden braking.
Plan Your Trip. Avoid peak hour traffic if possible and work out the most direct route before your journey commences. Using motorways, freeways, uses less fuel than driving on suburban streets.
Travel Light. Don’t carry excess weight by using the boot/trunk as a storage area, for tool boxes, etc. You are simply calling on extra effort from your engine every time you accelerate.
Keep It Shut. Keeping windows closed improves your cars aerodynamic efficiency. An open window can increase fuel consumption by up to 5%. Remove roof racks if not being used, they cause significant air drag.
Minimize Use Of Air Conditioning. Unless it’s freezing, or sweltering, keep the air conditioner off (fan is usually sufficient for cool or warm air flow into the vehicle). It is a major fuel thief in traffic, increasing fuel consumption by up to 10%.
Go For The Higher Gears. Automatic transmissions know how to select a higher gear when you ease off the throttle. If you are using a manual car, go for the next gear as soon as the car can handle it, without lugging.
Slow Down. If the cameras don’t catch you, your wallet will. Travelling at 90 km/h (56 mph) on the open road uses 25% less fuel than at 110 km/h (68 mph) in most cars.
Turn Off. Don’t let your car idle unnecessarily in the morning, in major traffic hold ups, or when waiting for someone. Don’t rev the engine before switching off, it wastes fuel and contrary to popular opinion, doesn’t make it easier to start next time.
Driving Ability. To be a successful economy driver, you need to be able to read the road ahead, have good concentration, understanding of your vehicle, and most importantly, the will to be a winner, with dogged determination.