Clever fuel-saving cleaning hack can save drivers £200 a year

Hypermiling: Drivers go to extremes to conserve fuel

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Cars can easily become dirty, especially with rain and colder temperatures starting to set in, motorists could see more mud and grime on their vehicle. Not only will this require drivers to take the time to clean their car more regularly, but it could also be having an impact on their fuel economy.

Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing, urged drivers to think twice about setting off in a filthy vehicle.

He said: “A cleaner car is in fact more fuel efficient. Experiments found the vehicle was more fuel-efficient when clean, averaging two miles per gallon (mpg) more than when it was dirty. 

“The average fuel mileage of the dirty car fell to around 24 mpg, while the clean car was 26 mpg.

“If you extrapolate that over an entire year, and with a driver covering around 8,000 miles, there’s a potential saving of around £200 annually just by keeping your car clean.”

The experiments he references include Mythbusters, who tested a clean car against a dirty car to test the fuel efficiency.

The myth states that dirtier cars are more fuel efficient because it makes the car more aerodynamic and allows for better fuel economy.

One car, a generic four-door sedan, was used on a one-mile track, with the clean car getting 26 mpg and the dirty car managing just 24 mpg.

Mr Conway added: “The main determining factor here is when the car doesn’t have dirt around it, it is much more aerodynamic. 

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“The surface area of a vehicle can impact mileage and fuel efficiency because when it has no debris, it can travel through the air much easier and freely. 

“Car manufacturers will cleverly design the body shape of a vehicle so that it is as aerodynamic as possible. 

“An aerodynamic-efficient vehicle shape tends to be one as smooth and as streamlined as possible, minimising drag.

“Dirt also adds weight, which also has an impact on a vehicle’s fuel efficiency.”

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As a result of the testing, drivers are urged to keep their car clean to help them save on fuel costs.

Any dirty car surface can limit airflow and increase friction, leading to a lower mpg rating.

Mr Conway also warned that dangers are present when driving a dirty car, which could lead to accidents or fines.

As the dark winter nights draw in, it is recommended that drivers keep their windscreens clear and smear-free to avoid potentially blinding glare from the headlights of other motorists.

If the windscreen isn’t clear and a motorist is involved in an accident, they can be charged with careless driving – even if any accident they encounter isn’t their fault.

Drivers up and down the UK are still struggling to deal with fuel prices, especially with costs increasing in recent weeks.

The latest RAC data found that diesel averaged 188.09p per litre, while petrol averaged 164.94p.

While they are still some way off the all-time record levels seen in July, motorists will still be cautious when driving as to not waste fuel.

Drivers and businesses that rely on diesel for getting to work and delivering goods and services may be hardest hit by the price rises.

Based on average prices, it would cost a driver with an 80-litre tank a staggering £150.47.

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