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High Fuel Costs Kill Off Cheap Weekend Motoring

Friday, 23 May 2008

"Fuel costs, not the weather, are most likely to ruin the traditional motoring Bank Holiday that was once a cheap Spring break for the family," says Neil Greig, IAM Trust Director. "And record fuel prices, especially for drivers of diesels, have wiped out the promised financial benefits of driving a new fuel-efficient car."

According to the IAM Trust:

- the fuel cost for a typical family break of 1,000 miles has risen by up to 50 per cent since 2003, in spite of today''s cars squeezing around 5 per cent more miles out of every litre of fuel

- fuel increases since 2003 have eliminated the cost benefits of more efficient engines, eg 1000 miles in a new diesel Ford Focus in 2003 cost £79.58 (petrol £106.08). The same trip in a new diesel Focus today costs £120.57 (petrol £146.47)

- it''s even worse for families that cannot afford a new car, eg a five-year old Focus uses around 5 per cent more fuel than a brand new model, raising their bill to £127.37(petrol 157.06), if driven frugally.

"This weekend, you can ease the strain on your wallet by tackling the common fuel wasters that can increase costs by up to 40 per cent," says Greig:

- roof racks and top boxes add 20 per cent to fuel consumption at 70 mph remove racks and top boxes once you''re at your destination

- speeding at 80mph uses up to 15 per cent more fuel than travelling at 70mph stick to speed limits - save fuel costs and avoid fines

- hurried or aggressive driving wastes up to 15 per cent more fuel allow plenty of time for the journey, stay well back from the vehicle ahead to minimise braking - and relax, it''s a holiday

- air conditioning increases fuel consumption by up to 10 per cent turn off air conditioning when the outside temperature is below 18C

- underinflated tyres waste fuel and wear out quicker, just 5 psi below the right pressure uses up to 3 per cent more fuel check pressures before setting off, when the tyres are cold

- fuel at motorway service areas typically cost up to 7pence (or 32 pence a gallon) a litre more than nearby petrol stations fill up at non-motorway filling stations but don''t skip regular breaks on long journeys