Motorists could be wasting almost £200 a year on fuel due to poorly maintained vehicles. An analysis from the motoring services specialist Halfords shows that hard pressed motorists could collectively be shelling out up to £6 billion a year for fuel that they don’t need to put in their tanks. Motorists with very high mileage, such as drivers of light commercial vehicles, could be burning up to £1000 worth of fuel unnecessarily.
“The government is very focused on encouraging people to switch to electric vehicles,” said Andy Turbefield, Halfords Head of Quality. “We support that, but we’re in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis and there needs to be a much greater emphasis on helping people with the everyday costs of motoring, for the good of people’s pockets, the economy, and the environment.
“The 5p a litre fuel duty cut is worth £70 to motorists on average, but it is due to come to an end in March,” said Andy Turbefield. “It could be replaced by an information campaign on fuel efficiency and that could save motorists hundreds of pounds each, similar to the Government’s new campaign to help households cut their energy bills.”
According to Halfords – which launches its own Every Mile Matters campaign today – driving with under-inflated tyres, using the wrong motor oil and failing to keep vehicles maintained can collectively increase the amount of fuel needed by up to 9 per cent. Halfords data shows that most vehicles coming into its garages for an MOT or service have issues that would cause the vehicle to burn more fuel than necessary.
Poor maintenance can affect charging costs for drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) too. The extra drag caused by underinflated tyres increases rolling resistance, leading to more frequent and costly charging. What’s more, tyres on EVs wear faster than on other vehicles due to the weight of the battery and the high torque characteristics of the motor .
“At a time when every penny matters, our message to motorists is that every mile matters too,” Mr Turbefield added.
Halfords, which earlier this year acquired the National Tyres chain, has introduced a range of price cuts and pledges to help people motor for less, including £10 off a ‘Fuel Efficiency Pack’*. This service cleans away carbon deposits in the engine and fuel system, improving fuel efficiency. Exhaust emissions are also reduced, along with improving engine performance.
A free tyre pressure check and inflation can be booked at any one of Halfords’ 600 garages, including National Tyres.
Halfords’ analysis shows that excess carbon emissions from poorly maintained petrol and diesel vehicles could be as high as 8.7 million tonnes a year. “The transition to electric vehicles will take at least a decade, and probably a lot longer,” said Andy Turbefield. “In the meantime, there is a huge environmental dividend to be had from ensuring petrol and diesel is not being burned unnecessarily.” UK emissions from petrol were 133 million tonnes in 2021, about a third of UK total.
In September Halfords revealed that the average age of a vehicle on UK roads is now 8.7 years, which is more than a year older than it was a decade ago. With an ageing car fleet, it’s more important than ever that people keep their cars properly maintained and serviced. Older cars are more likely to develop faults, representing a risk to road safety.
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