‘Wholly irresponsible’ fuel-saving tip attacked as drivers warned

The “tip” which has been circulating online suggests that tailgating, or “slipstreaming”, behind a vehicle in front, typically a large lorry, can increase fuel economy. The idea is that the vehicle in front punches a hole in the air ahead of them, meaning the car behind has to work less hard to maintain speed and use less fuel.

But for slipstreaming to work, a driver would have to tailgate within a few feet of the vehicle they’re closing in on. 

And motorists can expose themselves to a terrifying collision risk in the process, which should be avoided at all costs.  

Graham Conway, Managing Director of Select Car Leasing, has warned of the dangerous consequences this fuel-saving method can have.

He said: “The fuel-saving hack is wholly irresponsible and incredibly dangerous – not just for the driver doing it but for all road users. 

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“The ‘hack’ involves tailgating large vehicles, such as lorries or coaches, to create a slipstream in order to reduce drag on your own vehicle.

“In this slipstreaming scenario, the larger vehicle in front performs the task of pushing the head-on air out of the way, and then reduces the relative speed of the air the tailgating car is travelling through. 

“And it means the tailgating car requires less power to stay at the same speed as the vehicle ahead of it.

“The idea is that the closer you tailgate, the more fuel you’ll save. But the dangers here should be all too obvious.”

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This is a commonly used technique in motorsports and even in cycling.

It is used by some drivers who engage in “hypermiling”, but many experts tell drivers to be extremely safe or to avoid it altogether.

Some drivers who do try slipstreaming may do so behind lorries and heavy goods vehicles, which can be even more dangerous.

If it is raining or the road is slippery, motorists need to be extremely careful when driving, regardless of whether they are hypermiling.

Mr Conway continued, saying: “If the vehicle in front has to stop suddenly, you’re looking at a potentially life-threatening situation, where a collision could result in collateral damage impacting many different road users. 

“However pricey fuel might be right now, this so-called ‘advice’ should never, ever be followed. 

“Please do not try and perform this ‘fuel saving hack’ under any circumstances.”

The most recent data from RAC Fuel Watch shows that very little change in petrol and diesel prices is expected.

Currently, the average price of petrol is 148.2p per litre, while motorists looking for E5 super unleaded petrol will be paying 162.92p per litre.

Diesel drivers are still dealing with large prices, with the 20p gap between diesel and petrol remaining, at 168.48p per litre.

While fuel prices are falling slowly, many drivers are still struggling with prices, especially given the impact of the cost of living crisis.

Although they are a long way off the record-breaking prices seen in July last year, many are still hoping for the Government to implement a fuel price checker or to continue the fuel duty cut.

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