The case for having your staff trained in eco driving cannot be made clearer than when reviewing the past few weeks with the Toyota Avensis.
By enthusiastically practising eco driving techniques when behind the wheel of our 2.2-litre diesel, I have seen average fuel consumption regularly top 58mpg.
This has been achieved on lengthy motorway journeys where optimal conditions can be maintained – 56mph in sixth gear – with only minimal urban driving.
More than a month – about 1,000 miles – of driving as efficiently as possible (changing gear early, maintaining motion and avoiding heavy braking) across a range of conditions, including a trip into central London, the Avensis still recorded an average fuel consumption of 51.4mpg.
This included spells when there was no option but to use the air conditioning to counter the stifling heat, which added to the fuel use.
However, for the past three weeks my wife, who has little knowledge of eco techniques, has also been behind the wheel. This has seen the average fuel economy plummet, to 41.3mpg.
One doesn’t need to be a finance director to calculate the savings over a year if every driver in a fleet were trained in and practised eco driving.
One of the useful touches in the Avensis is that the air conditioning has a light that indicates when it is operational. It is a small thing in itself, but it means that the driver is always aware that it is on.
Many new cars default to having the system operational unless the driver opts to turn it off – it should be, as it is in the Toyota, the other way around.
While as a company car the Avensis is very hard to fault – if a tad boring – it has not been plain sailing.
The car is equipped with a reversing camera, which is fine in clear, dry weather but becomes difficult to use in less than perfect conditions as the lens becomes obscured.