Over three quarters of motorists (78 per cent)* would consider retro-fitting their car in some way to improve economy and save money.

    With many motorists finding it a challenge to maintain their current car, let alone replace it with a new, more efficient model, tinkering under the hood could be one way that drivers could cut their fuel consumption. Measures such as retro-fitting a hybrid or EV system, engine chipping or a conversion to allow a vehicle to run on a different fuel type such as biofuel or LPG, are just some of the measures drivers may be considering. Of course, modifications to improve fuel economy can be much milder than this and can include things such as removing factory-fitted roof racks, adding a belly pan or covering the wheels with smooth covers.

    With average petrol prices now at 133p a litre (according to as of 19/01/2012) it is easy to see why motorists are increasingly looking for methods to conserve fuel. Of course, the old advice about eco-driving and good car maintenance still remain some of the easiest as well as the cheapest ways to improve your economy.

    But if you are considering retro-fitting your car, has some advice for drivers:

    1. Considering converting to LPG? Make sure you use an UKLPG Approved Autogas Installer and ensure you contact your insurer as well as your vehicle manufacturer if you still have a manufacturer warranty in place. According to the UKLPG Association, you could save 40 per cent of your current fuel costs compared with petrol car and over 20 per cent compared to the equivalent diesel (see for more information).
    2. Engine chipping or remapping as it is also known, is the process of reprogramming the car’s ECU, usually to improve performance, although it can also improve economy. Again you need to check with your insurance company and be aware that fuel chipping may affect your manufacturer warranty. It can cost a couple of hundred pounds but it can in some circumstances reduce your fuel consumption by around 20 per cent.
    3. Retro-fitting a hybrid of EV system to your current vehicle may be cheaper than buying a new hybrid, but it is something should carefully consider beforehand. With ever more hybrids and electrics becoming available, it is getting more affordable all the time. For example, Toyota is planning to launch what it says will be ‘Europe’s most affordable hybrid’ in the form of a hybrid Yaris, due out before the end of the year. No exact details of price just yet but it could be a very popular model when it arrives.
    4. Making your own biofuel by collecting waste oil is messy and time-consuming, although there are people out there that are willing to do it to save money. An easier way is to use a high biofuel content blend such as B30, just be careful that it’s suitable for your car. If in doubt check with your manufacturer.