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Better Fuel Consumption? Go Somewhere Warm!

Better Fuel Consumption? Go Somewhere Warm!

The winter weather in the UK has been relentless. At the time of writing it is April and the weather has only just stopped freezing us. It’s like living in Winterfell, the northern capital of the Seven Kingdoms only without the massive fur coats and swords and with George Osborne starring as the evil Tywin Lannister.

What’s worse in this times of financial misery is that our cars are not as fuel efficient as they should be because the arctic conditions affect fuel use in a number of ways. For starters, engines need to be thoroughly warmed up before they reach peak efficiency. When cold, oil is sluggish and thick and, initially at least, some petrol is in contact with cold metal and condenses.

Fortunately, modern engines warm up quickly but it still takes longer in very cold weather. Unfortunately, they also get colder quicker which means on short trips the motor essentially has to warm up again if left for a while.

Conditions on the road will also have an adverse effect. With everyone taking to the heated interiors of their cars in cold weather your journey is likely to require a lot more accelerating and slowing down which consumes far more fuel than a constant speed. This is made worse by using heaters, heated windows and lights all of which contribute to a greater use of energy.

The pain doesn’t end there because tyres in cold weather tend to be stiffer and that increases rolling resistance; thus the car has to work harder to keep up performance and so on.

The combination of these various negative factors has a small but significant effect on fuel consumption to the tune of about three miles per gallon. On the face of it that isn’t much – true enough – but over the course of a year it all adds up.

The answer clearly is to go and live somewhere warm. Move to a place that all year round the only clothes you’ll need are shorts and a T-shirt. Right now, dealers are stocking up on convertibles in anticipation of that distant time when the sun shines and all’s right with the world. They need to clear that stock.

Imagine yourself driving along the Amalfi coast or parking outside a sophisticated bar in St Tropez. That’s the life you really want. As you sit shivering around the meagre fire in your hearth cheer yourself up by browsing for deals on a rag-top. For most of us a Ferrari is out of the question but if it’s at least warm most of us will probably settle for a used Mazda MX5.

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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