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Bogans provide inspiration to cut fuel consumption

Bogans provide inspiration to cut fuel consumption this summer

Drivers setting off for summer holidays can take inspiration from the unconventional winners of this year's AA Energywise Rally, EECA Chief Executive Mike Underhill says.

"We want people setting off on road trips this holiday season to think about the way they're driving and how good technique can save fuel.

"This year's Rally showed that even drivers in a car usually associated with bogans and racers can be named Best Driver - if they think about how they're driving," Mr Underhill said.

The biennial AA Energywise Rally around the North Island is a competition to find the most fuel efficient car and the most fuel efficient driver.

Last month Michael O'Donnell and the Trade Me team donned their best bogan attire (mullets, overalls and steel caps) to drive a "production racer" HSV Maloo V8 ute. They won the overall Best Driver category by beating the manufacturer's stated fuel economy by the greatest margin, a staggering 39%.

Mr O'Donnell says it was not just having AC/DC blasting on the stereo that helped the team do so well in the competition.

"Owners of grunty cars like the Maloo may not be aware of its fuel economy potential. But drivers of any car can get more out of their fuel tank by lightening up on the accelerator and realising that modern engines pull well at lower revs.

"The other important thing to do is keep an eye on the road ahead, to avoid making sudden stops and losing momentum.

"Getting into a high gear quickly and staying in cruise mode as long as possible helped too. Corners and hills were the real challenge - we had to focus on smooth cornering and using the momentum to get over the hills, to maximise fuel conservation."

Mike Underhill says all cars in the rally managed to exceed the fuel economy stated by the manufacturer, demonstrating the value of smooth driving technique.

He said EECA also recommends lightening the load where possible, and maintaining pressure in the tyres.

"A few simple measures can help save precious dollars at the petrol pump, so it's worth taking the time before you go on holiday to get the tyres pumped up, removing heavy objects like golf clubs from the boot if you're not going to use them, and taking the roof rack off the roof if you don't need it.

Michael O'Donnell says he hopes bogans around New Zealand will take a leaf out of the TradeMe team's books this summer.

"Saving money on fuel means more money to spend on what really matters - like some new mag wheels. That's got to make sense - even to bogans."


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