English Telecoms operate the largest fleet of vehicles in England and have realised that with rising fuel prices there is a simple way to save money.
"I was reading about hypermiling," said head of fleet operations, Dee Sell. "And I realised that if we send all our drivers on a hypermiling course, I could knock a third off our annual fuel bill."
Hypermiling is a way of driving that uses a variety of driving techniques to reduce the amount of fuel used when driving. Simple techniques like putting the vehicle in a higher gear to go down hill and control the speed using the brakes, whilst coasting as far as possible in a high gear without using the accelerator can cut fuel consumption.
"I started hypermiling myself first," said Miss Sell, "just to make sure it was all it was cracked up to be. It turns out it is brilliant. I'm never going to go back to driving like a loon."
Coasting to a stop for traffic lights or roundabouts, keeping the car in gear uses the wheel's rotation to turn the engine, instead of vice versa. Moving up through the gears more quickly than is intuitive also reduces fuel consumption.
"Modern engine management systems don't put fuel into the engine if it's not needed," said Sell. "I now tell all my drivers that they should hypermile, otherwise they're converting fuel into brake dust."
"She's become a bit of a bore," said one of the drivers who preferred to remain Steve Miller. "Always wittering on. It's not my diesel, why should I bloody care how much it costs? I'm going to continue haring around, changing speed randomly and breaking suddenly for lights. Not only do I get there quicker, it's a damn site more fun. Now, if they give some kind of bonus for using less fuel, then you can count me in. I'll save the planet when somebody pays me to."