Europcar, the UK’s leading vehicle rental company, has conducted its own Economy Run. The run produced some interesting results, not least that smaller cars don’t always mean better fuel efficiency.
Eleven different sized cars were driven round the 125 mile circuit of the M25. Eight 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 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.”
The run was carried out during a normal working day, mid-morning and even encountered a 13-mile traffic jam between Leatherhead and Chertsey. The drivers drove individually without any modifications to the cars.