Driving wisely can cut fuel costs by 30pc

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 February, 2008, 12:00am

Private car owners could save an estimated HK$440 million a year by practising fuel-efficiency measures that cut fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent, according to a major oil company.

The measures include cutting vehicle weight by removing unnecessary items from the boot, regularly checking the oil and tyre pressure, not idling and driving smoothly.

The findings were released yesterday by Shell Hong Kong, which commissioned a trial involving 179 drivers, including many daily commuters, implementing the measures for a five-week period between August and November last year.

About 80 per cent reported reduced fuel consumption, with an average saving of 6.7 per cent. About a quarter reported fuel efficiency improvement of up to 5 per cent, while 32 per cent achieved savings of between 10 per cent and 30 per cent.

The trial saved 2,665 litres of fuel worth HK$39,000, meaning each participant cut their fuel bill an average of HK$221 in the five-week period.

Based on the 448 million litres of petrol used in 2004 and the average savings' rate, it is projected that up to 30 million litres of fuel could potentially be saved, cutting total fuel costs by HK$440 million.

Although the trial was limited, it found European cars tended to be more fuel efficient, while women drivers performed better than men.

Only insignificant differences in fuel efficiency between small and big fuel tanks were detected.

A Shell survey last year concluded that Hong Kong drivers were the second-worst in the world in terms of fuel economy. Some believed they had little control of efficiency.

The latest trial was a follow-up that sought to prove fuel efficiency could be achieved with some simple but often-neglected practices.

Shell fuel brands manager Avis Augustine Lau said overseas studies showed that every 45kg of weight in the boot led to a 1-to-2 per cent increase in fuel use.

Shell Hong Kong director Daniel Ng said continuing fuel-efficiency improvement was important to the company's business, despite losing revenue in the short term.

The fast lane

to savings

1 Drive smoothly avoiding heavy acceleration or braking

2 Keep tyres at correct pressure and check oil regularly

3 Change up to a higher gear as early as possible as you accelerate

4 Keep boot or back seat clear of unnecessary items

5 Keep windows closed if driving at high speed