The test, organised by the RAC, was taken around the country last week with participating drivers regularly achieving a 25% improvement in fuel economy.
Vauxhall provided a fleet of Vectra 2.2DTi models for the event, which took place over a circular route, and participants – accompanied by a navigator – were set the challenge of covering as many miles as possible on half a gallon of fuel.
Compared to an official combined fuel consumption figure of 43.5mpg, most drivers were able to record at least a 25% improvement. The events were organised at RAC offices in Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Chesterfield and Bourne End, Buckinghamshire.
Fleet News took part in the Bourne End event, and achieved 55.2mpg on the route, using half a gallon of diesel in 27.6 miles – a 27% improvement on the official figure. Professional driver Ed Redfern was a heat winner, achieving more than 60mpg.
Chris Reynolds, marketing director of RAC business solutions, said: 'We are trying to illustrate that people do not have to modify their driving by very much to achieve significant fuel savings.
'Although we don't expect people to achieve a 30% saving all the time, a 10% saving should not be difficult to achieve. On a fleet of vehicles this should make a significant difference to running costs.'
RAC fuel economy expert Jack Clarke, who achieved 56mpg on the Bourne End route in rush-hour traffic, advised drivers before setting off. He suggested avoiding hard acceleration, not carrying unnecessary weight and planning ahead, but warned against coasting downhill.