The new WLTP fuel efficiency figures have been causing a lot of uncertainty and head-scratching in the world of business fleets.
Aside from the questions about changes to tax rates, do the WLTP figures offer a realistic indication of a vehicle’s efficiency in real UK motoring conditions? Will they make fleet fuel costs more predictable? What adjustments, if any, will drivers need to make to their driving in order to achieve the revised MPG figures?
To help answer these questions, FleetWorld magazine took the opportunity this year to shine a spotlight on the issue of real-world fuel efficiency at their annual MPG Marathon: a 2-day, 300-mile driving event aimed at demonstrating the achievable fuel efficiency of the vehicles, aided by a little bit of healthy competition between the drivers.
Two members of FleetWorld’s own staff, Jonathan and Lloyd, agreed to take part. Neither had competed in the event before, so to help them prepare, Richard Gladman, our Head of Driving and Riding Standards went along to take them through our eco-driving course in the run up to the event. By applying the techniques, Jonathan and Lloyd were both able to make a marked improvement in their MPG of around 12% during the eco-driving course. This closely reflects the kind of average improvement achieved by drivers on our course, and is in line with the findings of studies carried out by the Energy Saving Trust, who support and subsidise our eco-driving course.
Some of the principles of efficient driving are well publicised, such as removing unnecessary weight from your car and avoiding hard acceleration and braking. The advantage of taking the actual course is that a qualified trainer can observe each driver’s existing behaviour and help them to work on the specific skills that they need to develop, as well as coaching them in the techniques of observation and planning, which are essential for supporting what we call an ‘eco-safe’ approach to every journey.
You can read more about the team’s thoughts on their training exercise in the October issue of FleetWorld magazine. This year’s MPG Marathon has since taken place, and Richard popped along to give Jonathan and Lloyd a bit of a pep talk mid-way through the event and make sure they hadn’t forgotten what they’d learned on the course. At the time of writing this, we’re waiting for the official adjudicated results to come in, so keep an eye out for an update.