My eyes popped, jaw dropped and tongue lulled out as I checked the fuel gauge on my little Smart car. Having become quite obsessed with my fuel efficient driving, to see my car has only done 200 miles on the latest tank and it’s nearly ready for a refill was a shock. In recent times I’ve been doing 290 miles a tank – the difference? Mrs MSE’s been driving the car.
The real point of this blog isn’t to have a pop at Mrs MSE as I have far more bad habits than she does, but more to show the massive difference that driving styles can make to fuel efficiency.
Based on my usual measuring methodology (see my how far can you go on a tank of petrol? blog) the car will do around 225 miles in total on this tank, even less than the 245 miles I traditionally drove before I started competing with myself to see how far I could get from a tank.
Factor in that Mrs MSE has probably only driven just over half this tank and the impact is huge (though in the bigger picture at least my car’s less of a guzzler than her own 12 year old SLK).
At this point I should note that Mrs MSE doesn’t speed and is a safe driver – the prime difference is she drives without thought to petrol economy. It may sound ephemeral, but it is tangible. When I’ve sat in my car as she drives it, I can hear the engine difference, it growls far more as she buzzes up to her chosen speed rapidly rather than smoothly as I do (for how to drive efficiently see the full cheap petrol guide).
Whether I’ll actually persuade her to change style is a moot point (it’s tough to be a prophet in your own home). Yet to put that in perspective it means at my height of efficiency I’m getting a 30% boost to the distance I drive on the same tank. It’s further proof that after what car you’ve got, how you drive is by far the biggest single factor in fuel efficiency.
PS. And for those of you who’ve asked…of course Mrs MSE is fine with this, she read the blog before it was live and thinks my fuel efficiency obsession is hilarious. MoneySaving is important, but keeping Mrs MSE happy is even more so!