Duo win green driving competition

Two council drivers have proved their eco-credentials by scooping first place in a national driving competition.

Hgv driver nick chapman from market Harborough and mini-bus driver rose Homer, from Ashby-de-la-Zouch, proved a little goes a long way when they squeezed the most miles to the gallon across a 340 mile route.

Duo win green driving competition
Beating 44 seasoned drivers, the Leicestershire county council employees claimed victory in the 2013 ALD Automotive / Shell FuelSave mpg marathon after achieving an impressive 88.69 average mpg in their Ford Fiesta econetic.

the “first timers” not only beat off stiff competition including teams from major motoring manufacturers such as Audi, Jaguar and Honda but also managed to achieve a three per cent improvement on the manufacturer’s claimed mpg figures in real world driving conditions.

the route across cheshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire included strong winds, steep hills and heavy traffic.

nick, who works from the council’s croft depot, said: “we’ve had training through work on efficient driving and picked up some tips from the other drivers after the first day.

“we really were shocked to have won but were really pleased. things such as changing up a gear earlier and planning on how you stop and approach roundabouts sooner can really make a difference on your fuel consumption.”

Duo win green driving competition
rose said: “it was a really good experience. we were really surprised when we found out we beat people who have been doing this sort of thing for years but it goes to show that you can achieve the most out of your vehicle by the way you drive.”

peter osborne, Leicestershire county council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “nick and rose have pulled off an amazing victory and are a credit to the council.

“we’ve been working with drivers across our fleet to ensure they are driving in the safest and most efficient way possible, helping the authority save money and ensure we have highly trained staff behind the wheel.”

the council’s fleet consists of up to 200 vehicles including mini-buses, gritters, mobile libraries, gully emptiers and Hgvs and has an annual fuel bill of around £1.6m.

to date well over half the Leicestershire county council fleet drivers have taken the course and averaged a seven per cent mpg improvement. with just a five per cent mpg improvement across its fleet the authority could save £80,000 per year.

the council would also like to extend its thanks for the support from eSpo (eastern Shires purchasing organisation) which provided a new vehicle courtesy of Ford in order for it to take part in the event.

rose and nick will be sharing their £500 prize money between Diabetes uK and the MS Society.

Find out more about the event at www.thempgmarathon.co.uk