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£50 million: the fuel sapping cost of van loads

Businesses around the UK could save around £50 million each year-simply by taking the unnecessary weight out of the back of their vans.

According to new research from the Energy Saving Trust, businesses that operate fleets of light goods vehicles (up to 3.5 tonnes), could collectively save this staggering sum simply by lightening their load by 75 kilogrammes each.

That is equivalent to removing three bags of cement or an empty industrial gas cylinder.

Lighter vans are more efficient-empty out any unnecessary loads

Previous research found that a typical van – driving the NEDC regulatory test cycle – used eight per cent more fuel when fully laden, compared to being driven empty.

However, new research carried out by Cenex – a Centre of Excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies – on behalf of the Energy Saving Trust has, for the first time, modelled the impact of weight on fuel consumption using real-world driving conditions.

Real world result

The research compared empty and fully loaded LGVs on typical urban and rural driving routes, which more accurately represent realistic driving conditions.

Under urban driving conditions the research found that a typical car-derived van, such as a Volkswagen Caddy, will use around 26 per cent less fuel when empty compared to when fully loaded.

Movano vanAnd for panel vans such as the Peugeot Boxer, the difference in fuel consumption was up to 33 per cent.

Energy Saving Trust Senior Knowledge Manager Tim Anderson said: “Drivers often treat commercial vans as mobile store rooms for rarely needed equipment or parts, reducing the vehicle’s fuel economy. In addition, items such as unused roof racks add to air resistance which increases fuel consumption.

“Reducing the amount of additional weight in a vehicle will not only improve their fuel economy but it may also reveal that they have more space than they need.

“As a result, businesses could consider downsizing their fleets and opting for smaller, more economical vehicles which better suit their company needs.”

By getting rid of unnecessary loads, LCV drivers would reduce vehicle emissions collectively by 100,000 tonnes of CO2– enough to fill around 24 million red telephone boxes.

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Faye Sunderland

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