Eco driving now a

must

Fuel prices, 2022
Skoda Superb, 2022, front
Skoda Superb, 2022, instrument panel
Skoda Superb, 2022, driving mode button
Skoda Superb, 2022, Eco display screen
Skoda Superb, 2022, driving mode display

RECORD prices at the fuel pumps are hitting drivers hard and never before has it been time to eke as many miles out of every precious gallon.

With petrol averaging around £1.65 per litre and diesel £1.77 the £100 per full tank is becoming the norm.

Maximising fuel economy is now number one priority for drivers and getting the most from every drop of fuel is critical.

If your car has an Eco button it is the obvious starting point for reducing consumption but it is only one of a number of tricks a driver can use to improve fuel efficiency.

Starting off in as high a gear as possible, being light on the throttle and using gravity to assist whenever you can are others in an armoury of techniques that any driver can use.

We have just been trying out a number of eco driving methods on a Skoda Superb 2.0-litre diesel with a seven-speed DSG auto transmission to discover their effectiveness in real world conditions.

The result has been an improvement of almost ten miles per gallon, increasing the car's full tank range to close on 800 miles.

Much of what was achieved was done on the motorway where high speed are not conducive to good MPG yet overall our weekly fuel costs have not risen in line with soaring oil prices.

The Superb has a 66 litre fuel tank - 14.5 gallons - and that would cost close on £120 to refill from empty at current levels.

According to the car's onboard computer, our average of 51.8mpg was achieved over 353 miles at an average speed of 47mph which left the Superb with a range of 440 miles - a full tank distance of 793 miles.

That's enough for a return trip from London to Edinburgh and still having enough fuel left to complete a week's worth of driving for the average motorist.

Those are impressive statistics and only just shy of the official data for the Superb which gives it a WLTP rating of 54.3 to the gallon with emissions of 136g/km.

The engine develops 150bhp which gives it a 0 to 62mph acceleration time of 9.1 seconds and a top speed of 137mph - not at all shabby for one of the largest hatchbacks on the market which can be had in Sportline specification for £35,110 - and this is an automatic.

Stop/start systems also help by switching off the engine automatically when the car comes to rest, reactivating it as soon as you are ready to move off.

Prior to our experiment the car was averaging in the low 40s in everyday use and our main method to improve economy was the Eco switch.

This moderates throttle input for best efficiency and while the car may feel sluggish when moving off it does not impair high speed cruising.

The Eco setting also reduces the impact of features such as air conditioning on fuel economy and for even better results we could have opted to switch that off completely.

We were also careful to make the most out of road gradients to allow the engine to coast when going downhill and save even more fuel.

Building speed in such conditions also helps when the gradient increases and you will be able to travel further before having to increase power.

Being gentle on the accelerator is another simple trick and while it may take slightly longer than normal to build up to cruising speed, once you reach the mark it is easy to maintain on a light throttle.

In manual cars another aid to economy is shifting up as quickly as possible or using ‘gated changes' where you move from say third to fifth or even sixth gear to keep revs down.

Removing unnecessary weight from the car helps as well - so check what you have in the boot before setting off - while aerodynamics come into play too.

Take off any roof racks or boxes if they are not needed and don't drive with the windows open which can increase drag significantly.

These are just a few tips for easy eco motoring yet getting into the habit of gentle driving is good practice for all motorists.

The reward on your pocket will be pleasing - if not vital under the current situation.

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