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Motorists could save more than

New car sales may be struggling but Europcar, the UK’s leading vehicle rental company has proved that a relatively new car, combined with some simple driving techniques, can save motorists as much as £800 a year in fuel costs compared with driving an older vehicle.   

Europcar conducted its own Economy Run this Autumn not only to prove that the official MPG figures can be beaten but to demonstrate that renting a car – which is going to be relatively new – is cheaper than using an older vehicle.  In fact the cost savings from renting a new car can balance out the cost of the rental.  

11 different sized cars were driven round the 125 mile circuit of the M25.  8 of the cars were from the Europcar fleet – and were therefore each less than a year old – while 3 were older cars ranging from 3 to 10 years old.  

The run produced some interesting results, not least that smaller cars don’t always mean better fuel efficiency. 

The 8 new cars achieved a 14% improvement over the combined fuel economy figures published by the Vehicle Certification Agency, with an average fuel consumption of 62.12 miles to the gallon.  The three older cars achieved a 3% improvement overall. 

Perhaps surprisingly, it was the smaller cars in the test that struggled to improve upon the published MPG figures, while some of the larger cars comfortably exceeded them.  For example, a new Volvo V50 D5 Geartronic achieved 58.23 mpg, a 44% improvement over the published combined figure offering a potential saving on fuel of £800 per annum.  A Nissan Qashqai DCi achieved 70.33 mpg, which was a 30% improvement over published figures. And, a Peugeot 308 HDi 90 achieved a figure of 95.91mpg using just £7.24 of fuel on the 125 mile run. 

Tim Bailey, Europcar’s Fleet Director said: “Our experiment shows not only that driving the newer cars will save you money, but also that the driving style adopted plays a huge part in the fuel economy you can achieve in the real world.  Modern vehicles such as those we tested from the Europcar fleet can achieve such fuel consumption figures that renting a car and driving economically as a package, can still be cheaper overall than using your own older vehicle – even allowing for the recent fuel price cuts. “ 

Comparing the old vs the new cars, the average fuel usage for the cars on the Europcar fleet was just under 9 pence per mile whereas the older cars averaged 14 pence per mile, giving the newer cars a 31% saving in fuel costs.  Also, from an environmental perspective the newer cars emit almost 34% less carbon.   

Tim Bailey concludes: “With an average of 500 miles per rental, at today’s fuel rates, a Europcar customer could save £21.18 per rental on fuel and produce around 15,000 fewer grams of carbon.  If you look at the miles driven each year by customers in our cars and assume they use our cars rather than older cars and drove economically, the saving they achieved was over £30 million.  This is clearly a strong argument for renting a car rather than using an older model.” 

Europcar’s Fuel Efficient Driving Tips

1 – Drive smoothly

Driving by aggressively accelerating or braking wastes fuel – up to 60% more in fact! When pulling away from the lights, try to accelerate gently.

2 – Read the road ahead

When driving, try to look ahead and read the conditions of the road – look out for anything that might require you to slow down or stop such as traffic lights or someone attempting to park. By anticipating what is coming up, you’ll not only be a safer driver, but you’ll save fuel by starting to slow down early and not needing to come to a stop.

3 – Don’t rev the engine!

Revving the engine whilst stationary does nothing except waste fuel!

4 – Use the gears sensibly

Correct use of gears can make huge savings on your fuel use of up to 15%! Make sure you change up into a higher gear as soon as it’s possible and safe to do so.

5 – Stick to the limit

Doing 80mph on the motorway will use between 10% and 20% more fuel than doing 70mph. For a 20 mile motorway journey, driving at 80mph will only save you about 2 minutes compared to driving at 70mph anyway!
If you’re not in a hurry to get anywhere, doing 70mph will use between 20% and 30% more fuel than doing 50mph – suddenly being stuck behind a lorry doesn’t seem so bad!

6 – Don’t “warm up” the engine

When starting on cold mornings, don’t leave your car running to warm it up. It causes unnecessary engine wear, as well as wasting fuel.

7 – Turn off the Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning is great in the hot summer months, but only use it when you really need to and just use the blowers the rest of the time – try to avoid opening the windows when driving at speed as this can increase aerodynamic drag which will waste more fuel.  


The run was carried out during a normal working day, mid-morning and indeed encountered a 13-mile traffic jam between Leatherhead and Chertsey.  The drivers drove individually without any modifications to the cars. 

Fuel rates calculated based on £1.13 per litre (petrol) and £1.24 per litre (diesel) 

Notes to Editors

Owned by the French private equity firm Eurazeo, Europcar is the European leader in passenger car and light utility vehicle rentals. Since March 2007 with the acquisition of Vanguard EMEA (National & Alamo brands), its network comprises over 5,300 rental outlets in 160 countries. Europcar serves business and leisure customers throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. Excluding franchise operations, in 2007 Europcar signed more than 10 million rental contracts, with 7,700 employees and a fleet exceeding 215,000 vehicles. For more information: www.europcar.com 

For further press information please contact Dominic Dennis, Elinor Puzey, Jenny Staniforth or Madeleine Roles at HSL, Churcham House, 1 Bridgeman Road, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 9AJ. Telephone: 020 8977 9132 Fax: 020 8977 5200. Email: leisureteam@harrisonsadler.com



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