Fleet News

Underinflated tyres are costing motorists almost one billion extra in fuel

In light of the Government’s warnings over a fuel shortage as a result of threatened strike action, research from Kwik Fit reveals that motorists are wasting almost £1 billion a year on excess fuel by driving with under-inflated tyres. Its nationwide survey shows that over two thirds (69%) of cars in the UK are being driven on tyres that are at least 3psi under the manufacturer’s recommendation.

And with the Government advising motorists to top up their tanks and even stockpile fuel, Kwik Fit’s research shows that in warm weather 9.7 million2 drivers are unwittingly increasing their consumption by turning off their air conditioning and opening a window instead. But this is a false economy as the drag created by the open window can significantly affect their car’s aerodynamics and therefore fuel consumption.

In warm weather an open window may be a better option for fuel saving motorists in stop-start traffic but once moving freely Kwik Fit advises drivers to turn to the a/c. New analysis of the latest traffic data for Kwik Fit reveals that with just an average 5% drop in fuel efficiency, on a single warm day, drivers opting for a ‘windows down’ approach could be increasing the nation’s fuel bill by over £650,000 a day3.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, says: “Rather than panic-buying excess fuel, motorists could consider finding ways to improve their fuel efficiency. This can be achieved by making relatively simple adjustments motorists can drive further on one tank and shouldn’t really need to store extra fuel in jerrycans.

“Soaring fuel prices have already increased the pressure on motorists to squeeze every last mile out of their tank but the threat of shortages has upped the ante even further. But there are several measures motorists can take to make what fuel they’ve got last longer such as checking tyre pressures and using the air conditioning at speeds over 40 mph. Motorists should also consider using fuel additives such as BG44K, which can improve fuel economy.”

“With research showing that many petrol station tyre gauges are inaccurate, motorists may well feel safer coming to Kwik Fit where their tyre pressure can be checked for free using calibrated pressure gauges by a tyre expert.

“Car owners should make sure their air con system is working effectively, and like other parts of the car, this means giving it a regular service to get the best from it. Gas naturally leaks from the system and they need to be re-charged every two years.”

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