MSE's 2011 Petrol/Diesel Cost Diet Challenge: Put your money where your pedal is!

edited 11 January 2011 at 7:29PM in Motoring
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  • geordie_bengeordie_ben Forumite
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    Dr_Mark wrote: »
    Folks,
    I do wonder if we should all consider the fuel price issue in the longer term, rather than all of us (me too) scurrying about day to day to save a penny or two per litre whilst the oil companies look on and in their turn continue steadily to rachet up the price across the board. The nature of the price rises that burden all of us are cited by the companies as necessary due to demand/supply. I was prompted to put my thoughts down by an email - one of the standard circulars that folks pass around. It makes a case for boycotting selected oil companies (in this case the largest, Esso & BP), long term with the aim that over time and with enough of a Public response, their resulting falls in revenue (and profit) would require them to compete with their "competitor" companies rather than maintain the price matching that we are all used to. Would it not be the case then that the Motorist would then have something more of a say in price measured by demand. This seems a more proactive rather than reactive way forward. It would require longer term action and patience but would put us in the "driving seat" in the long run. Not hard to enact as an experiment, we can still be price conscious and selective in the meantime for the pennies that are currently saveable but perhaps a greater impact on the companies in the future with regard to the way we accept or don't accept price rises long term.

    Cheers,
    DM

    Never gonna happen. If someone does full deep research they'll find most of the smaller companies get their oil off the bigger companies. Some companies are tied into using the bigger companies, like BP and in return they get discount/offers etc

    If this did start to happen smaller companies would look at think... hmmm if we put our prices up 1p we can make £XX more this quarter

    The most we, as the public, will ever be able to do is watch the price of fuel is increasing because our countries terrible ecomonic ways.

    The only way we could get the prices back down is to sack who ever is in charge of VAT etc and bring it back down to a reasonable level, and sack who ever is in charge of the oil companies watching their profit grow even when crude oil is still at a low level.

    What makes fuel expensive? Greed. Will it ever stop? No.
  • edited 27 January 2011 at 5:37PM
    tomsticklandtomstickland Forumite
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    edited 27 January 2011 at 5:37PM
    Step 2: Drive more smoothly. This is the BIG saving, accelerate and brake gently and you can get 20-30% more miles per tank. See full smooth driving guide
    I disagree that gentle acceleration is important.
    Planning ahead to avoid braking is more important.
    Happy chappy
  • tomsticklandtomstickland Forumite
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    If you fill the tank then you will get less MPG. Fuels weighs a lot!
    Wikipedia says density of Diesel is around 0.832 Kg/L.
    A 60L tank would weigh just under 50Kg.
    The average weight if you brim it would then be 25Kg.
    The average weight if you half filled it would be 12.5Kg.

    So half filling would save 12.5Kg on average. Most cars weigh around 1,200Kg, so you're looking at a 1% saving in weight.

    MPG is related to the amount of work you ask the engine to do relative to the distance travelled. Under acceleration then the mass of the vehicle is an important factor. When travelling at constant speeds then the rolling resistance is a function of vehicle mass (but it's not proportional to it), but this is outweighed by aerodynamic drag forces.

    So I'd doubt that the 1% would even translate into a 0.5% fuel saving.
    Happy chappy
  • I have just changes to Shell from Sainsburys petrol and I get an extra 80 miles per tank! Its taken a couple of fills of Shell to really see a difference but even the first tank gave me 40 extra miles in my 1.2 Ibiza.

    my brother works for Shell and apparently there is no difference in the raw petrol but rather the additives that Shell put in give you more miles for your money. Im converted!
  • Just wondering after reading the post by candyman67, as you use sunflower oil in your diesel transit, do you know if this will work in all diesel cars? I have an R Peugeot 406 diesel estate(Hoping to upgrade to a newer model as soon as I can find one). Just wondering if this would gum up the engine over time, or if it's best to mix it 50/50 or as you say use one of the cleaning additives. Anyone out there know? Thanks folks.:)
  • AlantheagedAlantheaged Forumite
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    Lot of interesting comments in the forum. The one I liked best was Spendaholic with a Citroen Saxo1.1 - petrol presumably - that does 30mpg. Wow - I have a BMW 528 petrol that happily manages 35mpg overall average according to its computer, confirmed when I do a full to full mpg check. Funnily enough, the tax on the BMW is far higher than that for the "lower pollution" Citroen! I do however do all the fuel saving tricks in the book, most of which are in Martins article. The big ones he missed are set out below, but the other biggish one which I don't recall seeing in his article is to avoid ever buying an automatic unless you have to have one for medical or licence reasons - even the modern automatics can use a large amount more fuel than a manual especially as the manual allows you much more control over change up or down. The other tip if you have an automatic is ALWAYS to put it into neutral when you stop, no matter how short that stop is - a feature of the design is that when stopped in drive (D), the engine is automatically kept at a higher power setting to overcome the gearbox and fluid flywheel resistance - putting it in neutral reduces the gearbox drag considerably and the engine power setting automatically reduces, saving a large amount of fuel.

    The big one to give me any big improvement now is for there to be a bit more common sense from the authorities.

    To explain, the biggest use of fuel in any vehicle is accelerating, especially from a standing start. Accelarating a ton or more of car up to 30 mph uses an amazing amount of fuel - try pushing your car and accelerating it much beyond walking pace, then see how much less effort you need just to keep it moving. So to save lots of fuel with minimum effort, the message is to keep moving, preferably all the time. This means anticipating traffic lights changing to red/green, approaching traffic from other directions at roundabouts/give way junctions etc and adjusting your speed well in advance so you drive straight through - not easy, but after some practice, you can generally do it. It is also safer and gives less wear and tear on the rest of the car.

    Once you have mastered that, the next trick is to keep your speed constant and in the highest gear - if you have an instant mpg display on the dashboard, try driving at a constant speed and changing to different gears - you will be amazed at the difference changing from 5th to 4th then to 3rd actually makes - and try it at 30mph, 40 and 50 - if your car can do 50 in 3rd. Once you see the results, it will emphasise to you that the higher the gear, the better for fuel economy - but don't let the engine labour in too high a gear.

    So what have the authorities been doing? Easy - lots of traffic lights, now having 4 way stop introduced (ie where they only allow traffic to move from one direction at any one time - the other 3 are on red) and then putting speed bumps all over the place and using 20mph speed limits.

    4 way stop traffic lights make the sail through on green I mentioned above practically impossible - my local set of 4 way lights holds every approach by approx 1.5 minutes on red. Unless you are reasonably lucky, you and everyone else are forced to stop and then have your vehicle ticking over for some time. You then have to accelerate back up to speed only to encounter another set of lights which are suspiciously normally red assuming you accelerate to the speed limit. On that note, there was a strong rumour that in a Southern Town, the phasing of the lights had been deliberately altered to force vehicles to stop at each set of lights in a line "to reduce the average traffic speed" - which someone had linked into reduced accident rate by some very tortuous trick of association. It was effective in reducing the average speed but the effect on local pollution (noise, smell, fumes), fuel consumption and driver happiness must have been devestating - buses/cars/lorries sat for up to a minute and a half then accelerating away use an enormous amount of fuel and to be forced to do it possibly several times in a short period is ludicrous. The simple solution is to phase lights so that in a line, they are all green to allow the traffic to flow freely once it is past the first set. Everyone then benefits except the oil companies who would see a significant drop in their fuel sales in cities. I know that this could not be done with all traffic lights, but for those on main roads, I would expect it to be relatively simple and extremely cost effective, saving a lot of money, pollution and time for all the road users and nearby residents.

    Next is speed bumps. Apart from the discomfort (one of my relatives insists we drive all the way around a road littered with speed bumps because of this - more fuel gone!), wear and tear on suspension, and potential damage to nearby houses, the bumps force you to slow right down, select a lower gear, then accelerate away again. From what I have shown above, this is very expensive on fuel. I don't know what the benefit of the speed reduction/acceleration is, but I guess the Health and Safety argument would go back to the average speed reduction equals less accidents argument. The adverse effects (including that on local health due to the fumes and noise) would seem not to count.

    On the 20mph limit, the problem is that few cars will go in their highest gear at 20mph so you have to slow, change down, cruise in the lower gear then accelerate away again - all using far more fuel than cruising at 30mph. Presumably, this is again down to postulated improvements in health and safety without any real thought as to the overall consequences.

    On this, one of our local schools has recently managed to acquire the lot - 20 limit, speed bumps, raised mini roundabout with ramps. Absolutely ludicrous and presumably expensive. So now for the sake of potentially making that bit of road safer for children to cross for the hour or less in the morning and afternoon for around 38 ish weeks a year, every vehicle has to slow, bounce over the bumps, drive around the mini round-about then accelerate away again, 24/7, 365 days a year. Absolute madness. My own solution - take it all out and install an on demand light cotrolled pedestrian crossing. These are magic in that they are actually used and slow the traffic more when they are needed, allowing pedestrians to cross when they want and do not cause an expensive increase in fuel consumption, or a polluting and damaging obstruction to everyone else when pedestrians don't want to cross (Like the other 22hrs a day for 38 ish weeks and all the time in the other 14 ish weeks).

    Some of the above is light hearted (!) but I hope that the message is sufficiently strong for the authorities to at least start to think about the effect that their quick/sometimes cheap fixes have on fuel consumption and the related pollution, damage to the environment and adverse effect on local residents and then consider what they can do to lessen the impact, whilst still achieving what they originally wanted to do.

    But I won't hold my breath!
  • backinbusinessbackinbusiness Forumite
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    In cell D1 enter this formula =D1/A1 - This will show you how much each mile cost you

    Taxing my brain at this time of a Sunday night, and sorry to correct you, but I think the formula in D1 should be =C1/A1?

    I'd no idea how to calculate my mpg so looking forward to using this - thanks.

    BiB
    DF :grin:
  • B00stB00st Forumite
    78 Posts
    The big ones he missed are set out below, but the other biggish one which I don't recall seeing in his article is to avoid ever buying an automatic unless you have to have one for medical or licence reasons - even the modern automatics can use a large amount more fuel than a manual especially as the manual allows you much more control over change up or down. The other tip if you have an automatic is ALWAYS to put it into neutral when you stop, no matter how short that stop is - a feature of the design is that when stopped in drive (D), the engine is automatically kept at a higher power setting to overcome the gearbox and fluid flywheel resistance - putting it in neutral reduces the gearbox drag considerably and the engine power setting automatically reduces, saving a large amount of fuel.

    Putting an automatic into neutral at every stop is NOT good advice, as this will cause heavy wear on the clutch bands in the box. Saving a couple of pence by reducing the fuel consumption at idle is minor compared to the cost of having the box refurbed.

    Autos are designed to be left idling in drive, they have transmission fluid coolers to stop things getting too hot, and the user manual is generally full of warnings about leaving the car in drive unless it is very obvious that car the car will be stationary for 5 of more minutes.
  • Just wondering after reading the post by candyman67, as you use sunflower oil in your diesel transit, do you know if this will work in all diesel cars? I have an R Peugeot 406 diesel estate(Hoping to upgrade to a newer model as soon as I can find one). Just wondering if this would gum up the engine over time, or if it's best to mix it 50/50 or as you say use one of the cleaning additives. Anyone out there know? Thanks folks.:)

    I am not going to risk giving you direct advice as I am not experienced to do so. However, from various info read, it would seem that most diesels that were before common rail would be capable of using it.
    I would suggest that you investigate sites that offer info regarding using used oil in vehicles. One phrase used is SVO. You may well find a listing of suitable vehicles.
    It will often depend upon the seals in your fuel pump.


    From experience.
    100% use of vegetable oil results in the car and street behind you being hidden by a large white cloud when you start up.
  • i thought i'd give this a try as i travel approx 40 miles in total a day getting to and from work so it's about 200 miles a week. i drive a petrol renault scenic megane on a 55 plate and i was averaging 39.4 mpg both urban and motorway. over the last 2 weeks i've been watching my speed and traffic conditions and when on the motorway driving 5 miles per hour less, and generally trying to keep under 3000 revs. my mpg has now gone up to 45.8 mpg and so as a consequence a tank lasts me longer. each week am trying to get a higher mpg than the week before:beer:
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