I had a business meeting in Devon yesterday and I decided to try an experiment. I would drive there in my normal way (trying to "keep up with the traffic flow", or at least the guy two cars in front of me) and I would drive back limiting my speed on to either the speed limit or 60mph where the national speed limit applied. I used the trip computer to measure the results and they staggered me.
The journey was 159 miles and the outbound leg had an average speed of 51.7 mph and fuel consumption of 38.1 mpg. The return leg gave an average speed of 48.6 mph and 48.6 mpg (yes, they are exactly the same number but I did double check this morning). That is an incredibly 27% increase in fuel efficiency for just a 6.5% increase in time travelled.
My mind came back (again) to the plastic bag campaign, which is a good illustration that people can be motivated to mass action but was a lot of effort for a fairly minimum impact on carbon emmissions. So I calculated what might be the effect of repeating my experiment. There are apparently, 44 billion miles driven on business in the UK. If half of those were to repeat my experiment with the same results, the fuel reduction would be an astounding 55 million litres of petrol and 1.3 million tonnes of CO2.
That's ten times the effect of the plastic bag campaign just from business miles! Even more if commuting and leisure are included.
Anyone like to join me?