The 2009 mpg Marathon

The new Secretary of State for Transport Lord Adonis and Sadiq Khan, the DfT Minister responsible for environment and climate change, have both endorsed the 2009 ALD Automotive/TOTAL ECO 10 mpg Marathon in Coventry on 30th September and 1st October 2009.

Conservative leader David Cameron has also supported the initiative by sending a message wishing participants "a successful event for what is a hugely important cause."

Both Ministers have sent letters of support for the ultimate two-day driving experiment, now in its 7th year, which is set to prove that motorists can save hundreds of pounds per year on their fuel bills irrespective of volatile pump prices.

The Ministers have embraced the objectives of the event which, for the first time, is also focusing upon safer driving for business.

The event, which is supported by Act on CO2 and the Energy Saving Trust, will take place over two days. The first day will see the 40 drivers test their driving skills from Brandon Hall, between Coventry and Rugby, on a circuit back to Coventry via Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, a total distance of 180 miles. On day two, the drivers venture out from Brandon Hall to Shropshire before returning via Worcestershire and Warwick, a total of 200 miles.

For the first time the message of safer, as well as smarter driving is being promoted. RoadSafe, the UK's leading Forum for promoting road safety and reducing deaths and injuries on the roads is joining forces with the 2009 mpg Marathon team to promote the Safer Driving for Better Business message.

As well as 'smarter' driver training techniques, the mpg Marathon will showcase a number of fuel and carbon saving technologies that are being 'guinea-pigged'.

Also a first is the use of Lysanda's Eco Log on every vehicle. This is an on-board software device that provides fleet managers with accurate data on vehicle fuel consumption and carbon emissions and identifies areas of improvement in fleet efficiency, including the measurement of how much fuel is being used or wasted, and why.

"There are some interesting technologies being trialled this year, but overall it is all about changing behaviour behind the wheel and driving in an eco-friendly, smarter and safer way," says event organiser Ross Durkin.

"We are delighted with the Minister's comments which underline our on-going commitment to cut costs, emissions and deaths on the road," he adds.

"To put this in pound note terms, a driver covering 12,000 miles a year and averaging 30mpg at £0.95 per litre (£4.32 a gallon) would see his/her fuel bill reduced from £1,728 to £1,440 by employing smarter techniques and improving their fuel consumption from 30mpg to 36mpg. There would also be a corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions,£ he says.

Places are filling up fast, but the mpg Marathon team is still looking for drivers and manufacturers to take part after the run-away success of the 2008 event where eight vehicles managed to secure more than 80 miles per gallon. The overall winner for the best mpg went to the Toyota Yaris driven by Andrew Andersz and Gary Luton, who achieved a staggering 84.66mpg in real-world driving conditions.

The Chevrolet Corvette Z06, a vehicle not traditionally associated with a strong mpg return, achieved 30.96mpg under the stewardship of Richard Hammond and Carla McAlpine, who squeezed a 61.26 per cent improvement over the manufacturer's combined cycle fuel consumption figure, out of this so-called 'gas guzzler'.

There will also be an opportunity for all drivers to undertake Eco or 'smarter' driving training in advance in order to maximise the mpg over the two-day event, and by example, encourage Britain's 30 million motorists to do the same.

6 August 2009 Staff

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