Wednesday, 17 October 2012

What's in your boot?

In mine, I have five shopping bags. Empty ones, of the reusable sort. And that's it. Yes, really. When the kids were smaller, we used to keep the buggy in the boot too. Apparently, I'm quite unusual. There are a whole load of you driving around with the kitchen sink (or garden shed) in it.

Don't just take my word for it. Take a look at this.

The reason I'm mentioning this is Shell invited us to an event at Aston University in Birmingham to talk about their Target One Million campaign. Their aim is to reach one million people with advice on how to save fuel and drive more economically.

As I was on my own with the children, we actually travelled down to Birmingham by train. There's fuel saving in action for you. Seriously, they love trains and it was good for me to keep them amused.

The event was opened by the above Quentin Wilson, who I have met before at a previous Shell FuelSave event in Manchester last year who is master of a bit of hyperbole to launch the campaign, and then handed over to Punk Science to demonstrate what factors can affect fuel economy and they asked for a volunteer. Whose hand shot up? This handsome young man.

Those flippers caused no end of trouble, he kept falling over. They also had grown men wearing ponchos and riding Space Hoppers. No kidding. 

One of the ways Shell is aiming to get the message out there is through a series of games on their website called the FuelSave Challenge. Monkey had a go at playing some of the games using the iPads. 

Don't think it kept them occupied all the time though - over lunchtime, Monkey brought over one of the iPads and asked me to help him find Gangnam Style to show the others!

We also got to see the Aston Shell Eco Car, which was designed by some of the Mechanical Engineering students to take part in the Eco Marathon which is a competition to go as far as possible on 1 litre of fuel. The car, designed to be as sustainable as possible, won the design award at this year's competition. 

During lunch, those of us that wanted to got to take a spin out with Quentin around Birmingham in the Shell FuelSave car to see how economical we could drive. I was doing really well until I had to do a hill start - I wasn't confident enough to stop the engine and get started again. Apparently, my overall MPG was the third best out of the drivers that had a go. I was quite proud of myself, although too preoccupied with wondering where our taxi back to the station was by this point. He did eventually find us but he was so late that a run for our train was necessary at New Street -  we just made it before the doors closed. 

Keep an eye out on the Shell FuelSave page as more games will be launched over the coming weeks. In addition, if you register and complete the games, you will be entered into a draw to win one of 10 iPad3s, which is not a bad return for learning a few fuel saving tips. 

Oh, and don't forget to check what's in your boot - clearing it out could save you fuel, and a lot of cash. What IS in yours? 

(Shell kindly paid our travel expenses to attend this event, gave us lunch and a goody bag to take home containing snacks for the trip home. They have provided me with some images and videos from the day, but all opinions, as ever, are my own.)
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