A DRIVER has shared his top tips and secrets for being able to drive 100 miles on just a single gallon of fuel.
Thrifty Kevin Booker managed to chop £40 off his monthly petrol bill as the price of fuel soars.
The latest figures from the RAC show that petrol is 169.80p a litre while diesel sits at 183.71p.
Due to the spikes, knowing how to manage your fuel has become more important than ever.
And penny-pinching Kevin, from Swansea, revealed how he has managed to save while prices skyrocket – as well as win three world records for fuel-efficient driving, known as ‘hypermiling’.
Kevin, 43, calculated his techniques saved him £40 a month on his daily 70-mile round trip commute for work.
He told The Mirror: “Half the time, motorists are just getting nowhere – fast.
“You see people speed past you, and a minute later you pull up behind them at a traffic light.
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“But hypermiling isn’t about driving slowly – it’s about driving consistently. The reality is you’ll probably get there just as quickly – and you’ll save yourself a packet at the same time.”
Kevin hopes that he can help others to reduce their carbon footprint, after he started hypermiling as a student.
The technique gained a huge following in the States two decades ago when drivers looked for ways to save fuel costs.
Kevin’s first started hypermiling when he was driving his first car, a Renault 5, keeping records of his spending on petrol and comparing the cost with his mileage.
He began making small changes to his driving techniques while making his daily 70-mile round trip to commute to his job in Brecon.
Kevin said: “I’ve always had an eye on my fuel economy driving to and from work.
“Some people will argue it’s because I didn’t like spending money on fuel, but when you do the same trip all the time, you kind of gamify it.
“I just wanted to see how much fuel I could save, and how it would affect my journey time.”
Kevin, who manages a fleet of electric vehicles for a Welsh national park, was shocked at the results of the changes.
After swapping his petrol car for an electric one his hypermiling techniques were saving him as much as £40 a month.
He added: “And it barely made a difference to journey time. I was maybe a tiny bit slower at first, but once I really knew the road there was no difference at all.”
The keen motorist then began competing in hypermiling marathon events organised by Fleet Magazine, and won many of the contests.
Some required competitors to drive as far as 100 miles on a single gallon of petrol, even creating teams to try to come out on top.
BBC transport correspondent Paul Clifton and Fergal McGrath teamed up with Kevin on their successful world record bid in July last year in a Ford Mustang Mach-E.
The trio set not one but three new records, taking turns to drive a battery-powered Ford Mustang Mach-E from John O’Groats to Land’s End.
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During their attempt they set the records for efficiency, shortest charging time and the least number of stops, parking up just once to recharge for 43 minutes and 13 seconds over 840 miles and 20 hours of driving.
The team drove through the night to avoid traffic congestion, as well as keeping their air-con off and didn’t use the radio in an attempt to preserve energy.
DITCH UNNECESSARY EXTRA WEIGHT
Kevin said: “It was dicey near the end. For the last six miles, the dashboard read ‘battery depleted, stop now’.
“But the Mustang surprised us all. It was a far better car than we thought it would be.”
Currently Kevin is the owner of an electric car and is not affected by the huge rise in petrol prices – but wanted to share his tried and tested hypermiling methods to help others.
Keeping your car well-maintained with regular services is his first tip for maximising fuel efficiency.
He advises making sure the boot and back seats are free of unnecessary extra weight, adding “there’s no point driving around with a set of golf clubs unless you’re actually playing golf.”
He also advises getting rid of roof boxes and racks as they cause unnecessary drag, and says optimum tyre pressure is key for reducing rolling resistance.
Kevin concluded: “On the move, get into the habit of reading the road ahead and going with the flow of the traffic, rather than being one of these people who darts in and out of the fast lane.
“Judge your speed so you can flow into roundabout traffic or through traffic lights rather than stopping or braking harshly.
Ask yourself – do I really need to make this journey at all?
“Try to travel at non-peak times so you can avoid all the stop-start.
“And when you’re going downhill, leave the car in gear but take your foot off the accelerator – it won’t use any fuel at all.”
A cruising speed of around 60mph is “ideal” on motorways according to the hypermiling expert, but his top tip is considering if a journey even needs to be made at all.
He said: “It takes a lot more energy to push the engine those few extra miles per hour up to 70,” he cautions.
“Use cruise control if your car has it – modern cars are much better than people at maximising fuel efficiency.
“Ask yourself – do I really need to make this journey at all?
“Do I really need to go to this place? And if so, is there another way I could get there?
“You can forget all about the prices at the pumps if you walk or go by bike – your journey won’t cost you a penny.”
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