The Eco Tour is organised to draw the attention of EU citizens to the most fuel efficient cars in Europe.
Lasting 7 days and covering 9 European countries the gruelling challenge in 2008 involved 42 fuel-efficient cars driven by 42 teams covering between 300 and 400 km each day. All vehicles were required to travel the same route and refuel at the same BP stations. Teams swap cars within their category each day. There are six categories: small diesel and petrol cars, medium diesel and petrol cars and diesel and petrol family saloons.
Reducing CO2 emissions is recognised as one of the biggest challenges currently facing everybody. Traffic and transport are responsible for 21% of the CO2 emissions in Europe. While CO2 emissions have risen substantially since 1990 the level appears to have stabilised. In 1990 the greenhouse gases in Europe were around 5572 MTon and in 2006 this figure had fallen to around 5143 MTon.
There are many steps that every driver can take to improve their own fuel efficiency, reduce emissions and save some money. Here are a few ideas:
Switch off your engine when static: While turning off your engine for short periods can actually increase fuel consumption as more fuel is required to get the engine started, if you are stopped for more than a few minutes turning off your engine can be more efficient.
Reduce drag by removing roof-racks: Roof racks and top boxes significantly increase the drag on a vehicle. When not in use, racks and roof boxes should be removed.
Keep your tyres pumped up: Tyres that are not at the correct pressure also increase the drag on a vehicle and fuel consumption will increase. Keep your tyres pumped up and save a little fuel.
Remove unnecessary weight: Don't leave unnecessary luggage in your car. Remove those golf clubs from the boot until your next round and you will save even more fuel.
Choose a smaller car: Smaller, more economical cars use less fuel and cost less to run. Don't buy an enormous people carrier unless you have a need to carry around 6 or seven people at a time. Choose the most fuel efficient car for your needs.
Keep your air filter clean: Fuel efficiency is adversely affected by a dirty air intake filter as the reduced amount of air entering the engine results in incomplete combustion of the fuel. Check and change your filter regularly for optimum fuel efficiency.
Use the correct exhaust: Always ensure that your garage fits the correct model of exhaust for your car. The incorrect size of silencer can adversely affect the fuel consumption of a vehicle.
Change your oil regularly: Use only the oil recommended for your car and change it regularly for optimum fuel efficiency.
Keep your spark plugs fresh: Renew your plugs and wiring as recommended by your car's manufacturers as this will keep the cylinders firing properly which is essential for good fuel efficiency.
Drive efficiently: Drive in as high a gear as possible with low revs and avoid heavy braking and acceleration. Efficient driving techniques can improve fuel efficiency by as much as 30%.
Choose a more fuel efficient car: Take a look at the results of the 2008 Eco Tour and choose a car that has excellent fuel efficiency figures.
The winner of the 2008 event was the SEAT Ibiza 1.4 Ecomotive with impressive fuel consumption figures of 3.8litres/100km.
By Tony Gee
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