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Saving Fuel

The table below shows how much petroleum is used by different modes of transport.

UK Petroleum Consumption 2004 (in millions of tonnes)
Road:Petrol Cars, Vans and Taxis 19.16
Motorcycles 0.13
Road:Diesel Cars, Vans and Taxis 8.6
Lorries, Buses and Coaches 9.91
Road:LPG 0.11
Total by road   37.92
Railway   0.8
Water   0.84
Air Travel   11.91

Source: Department of Transport, 2006

It is clear that road transport accounts for the vast majority of petroleum consumption in the UK. Fuel consumption by cars and lorries can be reduced by

  • Streamlining to reduce drag (air resistance)
  • Economical driving
    • sticking to speed limits 
    • planning ahead to avoid excessive braking
    • changing up a gear
    • keeping tyres correctly inflated
  • Alternative modes of transport (walking and cycling)


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1950 Fiat 195X
2007 Hyundai Accent
1950 Fiat 195X
2007 Hyundai Accent

Click to enlarge


Compare the two cars in the two images above. Can you find three differences which mean the orange car causes less air resistance as it moves.