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100 mpg at 2010 MPG Marathon?

The bets are on for an entrant to achieve 100 mpg at the 2010 ALD Automotive/TOTAL ECO 10 MPG Marathon.

Taking place near Stratford upon Avon on September 15 and 16, the Marathon, now in its eighth year, sets out to prove that Britain’s 30 million motorists can save hundreds of pounds per year on their fuel bills irrespective of volatile pump prices.

Organisers say they have experienced a greater level of driver interest since the so-called austerity Budget where the increase in VAT from 17.5% to 20% was announced.

Numbers are set at 40 vehicles, but organisers have already seen a third more requests for places for the eco-challenge, that is expected to see the first driver achieve 100 mpg. Last year’s winner achieved 96.81 mpg in a SMART Fortwo Coupe.

“We have seen dramatic interest in this year’s event, in part driven by the desire to be the first to achieve 100 mpg. But it is largely because the VAT increase will dramatically impact the cost of fuel, already the highest in Europe, so drivers are looking at more ways to reduce their spending at the pumps. Filling up a £60 tank of unleaded will cost an additional £1.50, a major incentive to motorists to cut costs,” said marathon organiser Ross Durkin.

“Drivers are looking for ‘here and now’ savings. People who drive for business are being encouraged to look at new greener technologies, but there is a way to go to prove their cost-effectiveness and practicality. Drivers therefore want tips they can put in practice themselves to reduce their motoring costs today, especially with the January VAT increase to contend with,” he adds.

The two-day 360 mile event, which is supported by Act on CO2 and the Energy Saving Trust, is likely to be more than just economically challenging for drivers. The route, which is just being finalised, will include more A and B roads and hills to conquer around Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire. Both days begin and end at Ettington Chase, near Stratford upon Avon.

David Yates, marketing director for ALD Automotive says: “We are coming out of a very hard recession, but the increase in VAT will be felt by all motorists, particularly Britain’s three million company car drivers who spend much of their time behind the wheel and have to fill up more regularly. Driver behaviour is determined by the culture of the businesses they work for so this exercise will demonstrate that businesses can be safe and save money at the same time. We are delighted to be once again associated with the MPG Marathon to help promote this message.

As well as fuel efficiency, the message of this year’s ALD Automotive/TOTAL ECO 10 Marathon is once again safety as reduced speed saves lives as well as fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and unnecessary wear and tear on the vehicle.

RoadSafe, the UK’s leading Forum for promoting road safety and reducing deaths and injuries on the roads is again joining forces with the 2010 MPG Marathon team to promote the Safer Driving for Better Business message.

Adrian Walsh, director of RoadSafe, the sponsors of the Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards, says: “Smarter driving by definition is safer driving. There are approximately three million company car drivers on the road and an untold number in the grey fleet, those who use their own vehicles for business purposes. Many spend a disproportionate amount of time on the road compared to other drivers and our clear message is: “While you are saving fuel, you can also improve safety.”

Last year’s event attracted widespread cross-party support. David Cameron sent a message wishing participants “a successful event for what is a hugely important cause.”

As well as ‘smarter’ driver training techniques, the MPG Marathon will showcase a number of fuel and carbon saving technologies.

Lysanda’s Eco Log will once again be installed on every vehicle. This is an on-board software device that provides fleet managers with accurate data on vehicle fuel consumption and carbon emissions and identifies areas of improvement in fleet efficiency, including the measurement of how much fuel is being used or wasted, and why.

“To put this in pound note terms, a driver covering 12,000 miles a year and averaging 30 mpg at £1.17 per litre (£5.31 a gallon) would see his/her fuel bill reduced from £2,124 to £1,769 by employing smarter techniques and improving their fuel consumption from 30 mpg to 36 mpg. There would also be a corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions,” says Durkin.

Places are filling up fast, but the MPG Marathon team is still looking for drivers and manufacturers to take part after the success of the 2009 event where more than one driver achieved in excess of 90 mpg.

There will also be an opportunity for all drivers to undertake Eco or ‘smarter’ driving training in advance in order to maximise the mpg over the two-day event, and by example, encourage Britain’s 30 million motorists to do the same.

Some smarter driving tips include:
• Changing up through the gears at between 2,000 and 2,500 rpm
• Ease your speed. Driving at 70mph uses around 15 per cent more fuel than at 50mph
• Anticipate to avoid unnecessary acceleration and braking
• Use air conditioning sparingly as it greatly increases fuel consumption
• Switch off the engine whenever safe to do so
• Check tyre pressures regularly
• Remove unnecessary weight from your car
• Reduce aerodynamic drag whenever possible, e.g. by removing roof racks when not in use.

Steve Crouch, Marketing Executive, TOTAL UK Ltd, says: “The MPG Marathon showcases how clever driving, regular checks on your vehicle and greener fuels can make a big impact on fuel economy. The continuing success of the event shows that people are more conscious of driving efficiently and the way it affects fuel consumption and the environment.

For further information, visit the official website www.mpgmarathon.com

Keywords: 2010 ALD Automotive/TOTAL ECO 10 MPG Marathon, 100 mpg