Peugeot cars tell drivers when to change gear

The indicator, which will sit in the instrument panel, will let the driver know when to change gear to get the most out of the fuel and keep costs down.

Most cars come with an official fuel consumption figure measured in miles per gallon (mpg) but these are decided using lab tests on a rolling road.

As a result, real world mpg is rarely the same as the quoted figures. However, the gear change indicator is designed to bring real world figures much closer to the official figure.

The recent 2.5 per cent rise in VAT has left car makers searching for money saving gadgets to appeal to money-conscious buyers, and Peugeot is offering a range of fuel-saving equipment for 2011.

This includes engine management software which has been designed for the HDi 90 engine seen in the Peugeot 207 Economique model.

The small car uses the software to ensure the engine is operating at its most efficient and results in CO2 emissions of just 99g/km – enough to make the 207 exempt from paying VED and the London congestion charge.

Engine mapping software and gear change indicators can already be found in more premium – often German made – cars but the technology is filtering down to the volume manufacturers as drivers look to cut fuel bills.

Changing driving habits can result in huge fuel savings for motorists. Tactics such as avoiding harsh acceleration and braking and optimising gear changes are often recommended to get the most out of each gallon of fuel.

In an experiment by the AA, fifty employees found they saved an average of ten per cent on their weekly fuel bill by using simple eco driving tips such as regular servicing and anticipating the road ahead.