Counting the cost at the pumps
One of the biggest costs to the van owner/drivers is the on-going price of fuel.
The pump-price of diesel has fluctuated wildly over the past few years, reaching an eye-watering 150.9p a litre at a M6 service station in February 2012 - which makes today's (Feb 2016) current average pump price of £1.02 per litre seem positively cheap.
(As we researched for this article, the Web found the lowest price of diesel was at local supermarkets, who were selling diesel at 97.99p a litre!).
Click here for prices in your area: www.petrolprices.com
Making a huge difference to the bottom line - van owner/drivers can monitor fuel consumption and maybe make further savings...
Fuel consumption - official figures
You can find the 'official fuel consumption figures' for your vehicle on the government fuel website: gov.uk/co2-and-vehicle-tax-tools . But these figures are obtained under a very strict set of circumstances and may not reflect the miles per gallon you actually get from your vehicle.
In the real world, a more accurate way to monitor fuel economy is to simply fill up the tank, make your journey and fill up again. This will indicate you how much fuel you have used for the distance you have driven.
Do the maths and calculate the miles per gallon for yourself or use an on-line fuel consumption calculator, click to: http://www.which.co.uk/cars/driving/driver-tools/fuel-calculator/
Reducing your fuel consumption
Fuel economy is dependent on many different factors: such as tyre pressure, loads carried, roof racks, driving styles, etc., etc. Here's some suggestions that may help your mpg:
Can you simply drive less? Pre-planning a route can save miles travelled, Sat Nav's are the name of the game here, where would we be without them? Avoid heavily congested areas if possible, a stationary van, stuck in traffic, is not earning its keep.
If you have to drive in busy cities (and lots of us do) - the latest eco 'stop/start' engine technology really helps fuel consumption. Yes - vans now have stop/start technology! Eco, BlueMotion, etc., all help to save your hard-earned cash.
Of course, everyone keeps their vans' tyres at the correct pressure - don't they?
Under-inflated tyres increase rolling resistance, making the engine work harder and thereby increasing fuel costs.
Oppositely, over-inflated tyres wear out more quickly. (Also check the tracking is OK - if it's amiss - your tyres will wear un-evenly). No-one likes having to replace tyres that could be avoided by simple maintenance.
Foot-to-the-floor acceleration from traffic lights and then the subsequent braking - guzzles fuel; a steady, smooth and efficient driving-style maximises the mpg.
Changing your driving technique could improve your fuel efficiency by 30%.
Transport figures state that you will use up to 9% more fuel driving at 70mph than you would at 60mph and up to 15% more fuel than driving at 50mph. Travelling at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph.
Take the roof-rack off if you are not using it (that includes bike racks too). Todays' vehicles are designed for super aerodynamic efficiency - an empty roof rack adds to fuel consumption by around 10%.
De-clutter the load area - driving around with a lot of unnecessary stuff in the back only adds weight and increases fuel consumption.
Finally, do you use your van for home shopping?
It might work out cheaper to use a supermarket's home delivery service for the family groceries (and save the hassle!). Most supermarkets have mobile phone apps to make on-line shopping easy, saves precious time too!
We haven't mentioned electric/hybrid engines, bio-fuels, LPG, etc., maybe the next time we reproduce this page, there will be more fuel saving alternatives to discuss.
Until then, if you have any super fuel-saving tips, please E-mail them to us - and we'll add them to these pages.