bad driving cuts economy
BMW 320d: Economy recorded from identical cars ranged from 36mpg to 76mpg. Ford Econetic-badged models varied by 54mpg between most and least efficient user
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TMC economy study:

  • TMC fuel economy data on 2,300 company car drivers studied
  • Some fleet drivers get over 40mpg more than others from identical company cars.
  • £3,000 difference in fuel cost over three years between drivers in identical cars.
  • Cars studied were BMW 116d and 320d, Ford Focus and Mondeo, and VW Golf and Passat

SOME drivers have a heavier right foot and it shows in their fuel bills but you can spot the bad fuel wasters and save a fortune.

Just how bad the situation has become – and how simple it is to rectify and reduce wear and tear too to cut business costs – is clearly shown in a TMC data study comparing fuel use by 2,300 drivers in similar company cars – with bad driving costing millions.

The new ‘real world driving’ data in the TMC study shows some bad fuel waster fleet drivers getting 40 fewer miles per gallon (mpg) than colleagues driving identical models.

The 40mpg difference meant that over 10,000 business miles the least efficient driver was costing £790 more than the most efficient colleague.

Super-frugal fleet diesels are extremely sensitive to their users’ driving style says TMC, which carried out the analysis. TMC believes that 50% or more of fleet drivers have not adapted their technique to modern cars and employers are therefore missing out on millions of pounds in fuel savings as bad driving cuts economy.

Paul Hollick, TMC managing director, said: “It is no longer just a case of watching out for a handful of rogue drivers on your fleet. It is likely that half of your company car drivers are getting significantly worse fuel economy than their car is capable of. Companies and drivers are collectively wasting millions of pounds every day.”

TMC overlaid thousands of audited mileage reports from 2,300 company car drivers on to fuel transaction data for each vehicle to measure differences in real-world fuel consumption. The analysis is of the following popular fleet models: BMW 116d and 320d, Ford Focus and Mondeo, and VW Golf and Passat.

BMW’s 320d series was the best overall performer under real-world conditions, achieving 52.3mpg on average. Nevertheless, like-for-like comparisons showed some startling spreads between users.

Drivers of the base level BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics model (officially rated at 68.9mpg) achieved between 36mpg and 76mpg in real world conditions, with an average of 55mpg. The least efficient driver of this model in the sample costs their company £790 more in fuel every 10,000 business miles than the most efficient.

And it’s even more costly for the business if the driver is having the taxable ‘free’ fuel, where the company pays for the fuel and NIC for the driver who also pays his own fuel benefit tax, rather than the driver repaying the private mileage fuel.

TMC, which audits mileage claims from 100,000 drivers to ensure accuracy and prevent exaggerated claims, found a similar trend across all model ranges in the analysis. Models featuring ‘eco’ technologies such as auto stop-start are particularly sensitive to the way they are driven.

Mpg figures achieved by drivers in Ford Econetic-badged models varied by 54mpg between the most and least efficient user. The spread for VW BlueMotion cars was 47mpg and for BMW EfficientDynamics models it was 48mpg.

Seven per cent of users actually exceeded their car’s official figure. But 45% of drivers in the sample fell significantly short of their car’s potential fuel economy, not just by 10 or 15mpg but by 20, 30 or 40mpg

“These variations are mostly down to drivers, not the technologies,” said Mr Hollick. “In each of the model ranges we looked at, there are drivers who routinely achieve high mpg figures. Seven per cent of users actually exceeded their car’s official figure.

“But 45% of drivers in the sample fell significantly short of their car’s potential fuel economy, not just by 10 or 15mpg but by 20, 30 or 40mpg.

“Over three years, the least efficient drivers use around £3,000 more fuel than the average driver, and up to £5,000 more than the most efficient drivers of the same model.”

TMC provides customers with this analysis for their own fleets, enabling them to pinpoint poor mpg performance, investigate the reasons and if needed target the driver to improve.

Mr Hollick said it was time for fleets to face up to the amount of money being poured away because drivers do not adapt their technique to today’s cars.

“Manufacturers are squeezing better and better economy out of conventional engines. Fleets and drivers are happily taking the tax breaks on the CO2 emissions. But many companies are passing up a very real opportunity to slash fuel costs by ensuring their divers know how to get the best mileage out of their cars,” Mr Hollick concluded.

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  1. This appears to be a case of adding 2 and 2 and getting 5
    There is no measurement or appreciation of the environment in which the “identical” vehicles are being operated. It is obvious that a vehicle operated largely within an urban environment will use more fuel than one that spends it’s life doing long, constant speed, trunk road journeys. To label a user as a “bad” driver solely on the basis of the vehicle consumption without taking the operating environment into consideration seems more than a little unfair.


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