Conducted by testing specialist company Millbrook at a GreenFleet Fuel Challenge event, the findings suggest fleet managers attempting to reduce running costs by downsizing their cars would achieve better results by implementing driver training programmes.
Part of the test involved driving a Toyota Avensis 2.2-litre diesel aggressively around the track with the windows open, air conditioning on and the tyre pressure slightly lowered. An identical car was driven carefully round with the air conditioning off, windows closed and tyres corrected inflated.
Describing the results as staggering, organisers say the aggressively-driven car achi-eved 18.02mpg compared with 56.19mpg for the carefully-driven car.
This equates to a fuel saving of more than £4,000 over 24,000 miles.
Test programme manager Andrew Eastlake, head of laboratories at Millbrook, said: ‘The results of the GreenFleet Fuel Challenge showed that vehicle technology is not necessarily the main influence on fuel economy and emissions.
‘Technology and choice of fuel are important but, at the end of the day, these tests have shown that saving money by reducing fuel consumption is just as much the responsibility of the driver.’
He added: ‘The tests with the Avensis were maybe a little extreme, but they clearly indicate the potential for substantial fuel saving that is possible when you understand the real-world usage of vehicles.’