Fuel prices have been increasing steadily and rose at their fastest rate in April since 2000 by 5.44 pence per litre for Unleaded. These huge increases are driving up the total cost of ownership for a motorist, combined with new congestion charges, rises in road tax and insurance premiums.

In order to offset rising prices, the need for fuel efficiency has become one of the most important considerations for motorists when buying a replacement new or used car. This is why hybrid vehicles have gained in popularity due to efficiencies gained in miles per gallon (i.e. MPG) from using an electric engine at slow speeds or idling when MPG is low and an efficient combustion engine for higher speeds when the MPG is high.

Fuel effiecient Ford

Car manufacturers have also made new petrol and diesel cars much more fuel efficient, with smaller engines and lighter cars that extend the effective range by hundreds of miles on less fuel, leading to a better MPG.

In a recent study by Euro Car Parts, they created a uniform driving distance test to see how much the top ten most purchased cars in 2018 would travel the furthest on a tank of petrol, purchased at the same price of £1.28 per litre. It found that the Ford Focus (5th most purchased car) came top with a stunning 1,112 miles on a tank of fuel costing £66.75, with an MPG of 97.2 miles and a cost per mile (i.e. CPM) of an amazing 5.9 pence.

The Ford Fiesta, which was the most purchased car in the UK in 2018 managed to achieve 821 miles on a tank of fuel costing £53.76, with an MPG of 88.8 miles and CPM of 6.4 pence. VW Polo (6th most purchased car) came top for the least amount of fuel bought to fill up at £51.20, delivering an MPG of 91.2 miles and CPM of 6.4 pence.

Top 10 Cars Sold in UK 2018 by Driving Distance on Full Tank of Petrol [Source: Euro Garages]
# Model Distance (Miles) Tank Size (Litres) Cost To Fill (£) Miles Per UK Gallon Cost Per Mile (£)
1 Ford Focus 1112.69 52 £66.75 97.2 5.9
2 VW Golf 1046.12 55 £70.40 86.4 6.7
3 Audi A3 1046.12 55 £70.40 86.4 6.7
4 BMW 3 Series 1014.42 60 £76.80 76.8 7.5
5 Vauxhall Astra 874.94 48 £61.44 82.8 7.0
6 Renault Clio 855.92 45 £57.60 86.4 6.7
7 Ford Fiesta 821.05 42 £53.76 88.8 6.5
8 VW Polo 803.08 40 £51.20 91.2 6.4
9 MINI 639.30 44 £56.32 66.1 8.8
10 Vauxhall Corsa 606.28 45 £57.60 61.2 9.5

Not a natural skill

By contrast, the Vauxhall Corsa (3rd most purchased car) delivered a shocking 606.28 miles on a full tank costing £57.60, with an MPG of 61.2 miles and CPM of 9.5 pence. And perhaps most ironic of all, the smallest car by height is the MINI Hatch (7th most purchased car) it delivered 639.3 miles on a full tank costing £56.32, with an MPG of 61.2 miles and CPM of 8.8 pence, so clearly size of car does not determine fuel efficiency, but perhaps the MINI is heavier than its rivals, we’re not sure.

Commenting on the research, Chris Barella, Vice President of Sales at Euro Car Parts said: “Trying to travel on only one tank of petrol can actually be harder than it sounds. Driving efficiently doesn’t always come naturally!

“However, when purchasing a motor, it’s worth considering which cars are the most fuel efficient. The overall savings you could make could go towards the cost of a whole car after a few years!

“Not only is driving efficiently good for our pockets – it’s also better for the environment.”

Running costs

Achieving an optimum level of fuel efficiency is extremely beneficial to saving money running your car as this test demonstrates, but if we all did this we would be driving at 60 MPH on the motorway. Under real-world driving conditions, we all change our driving habits and fuel efficiency based on when we need it. If we’re running late to pick up the kids, for example, we might go a little bit more urgently than normal and saving money on fuel is not on your mind.

It is recommended when considering buying a new or used car, sit down and calculate the total cost of ownership, not only the finance but also running costs.

Here is a good free calculator: https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-1633412/Calculator-True-cost-running-car.html
You might be really surprised as the results could show a more expensive car is actually better overall than the cheapest, which could be a false economy. Vauxhall Corsa, the cheapest of the top 10 cars purchased in the UK proves this.

As ever PetrolPrices is here to help members to save money on fuel. In our estimates, if you always go to the cheapest places wherever you are by using our alerts, app and website the average person will save over £200 a year.

What do you think about these results from Euro Car Parts? Are you a proud Ford Focus owner and can confirm it’s amazing fuel economy or are you an embarrassed MINI driver? Let us know in the comments below.

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