Regular servicing – Get your Volkswagen van serviced regularly (according to the manufacturer's schedule) to maintain engine efficiency.
Engine oil – Make sure you use the correct specification of engine oil (refer to the handbook).
Tyre pressures – Check tyre pressures regularly and before long journeys. Under-inflated tyres create more rolling resistance and so use more fuel. Getting tyre pressures right is important for safety too. Refer to the handbook as pressures will normally have to be increased for heavier loads.
Before starting your journey
Lose weight – Extra weight means extra fuel so if there's stuff in the boot you don't need on the journey take it out and leave it at home.
Streamline – Roof racks/boxes create extra wind resistance and so increase fuel consumption. If you don't need it take it off, if you do, pack carefully to reduce the extra drag.
Don't get lost – Plan unfamiliar journeys to reduce the chance of getting lost – try the AA Route planner or consider a 'Sat Nav' if you regularly drive unfamiliar routes. Check the traffic news before you go too.
Combine short trips – Cold starts are inefficient so it pays to combine errands such as buying the paper, dropping-off the recycling, or collecting the kids into one trip rather than making multiple short trips.
Consider alternatives – If it's a short journey (a couple of miles or so) consider walking or cycling rather than taking the van – fuel consumption is worse when the engine's cold and pollution will be greater too until the emissions control system gets up to normal temperature.
On the way
Leave promptly – Don't start the engine until you're ready to go. This avoids fuel wastage and ensures that the engine warms up as quickly as possible.
Easy does it – Drive smoothly, accelerate gently and read the road ahead to avoid unnecessary braking.
Decelerate smoothly – When you have to slow down or to stop, decelerate smoothly by releasing the accelerator in time, leaving the van in gear.
Rolling – If you can keep the van moving all the time, so much the better. Stopping then starting again uses more fuel than keeping rolling.
Change up earlier – Change gear as soon as possible without laboring the engine – try changing up at an engine speed of around 2000 rpm in a diesel van or around 2500 rpm in a petrol van. This can make such a difference to fuel consumption.
Cut down on the air-con – Air conditioning increases fuel consumption at low speeds, but at higher speeds the effects are less noticeable. So if it's a hot day it's more economical to open the windows around town and save the air conditioning for high speed driving. Don't leave the air-con on all the time – you should run it at least once a week throughout the year though to maintain the system is in good condition.
Turn it off – Any electrical load increases fuel consumption, so turn off your heated rear windscreen, demister blowers and headlights when you don't need them.
Stick to the limits – Drive at or within the speed limit – the faster you go the greater the fuel consumption and the greater the pollution too. According to the Department for Transport driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Cruising at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph.