Eco-driving could save every motorist up to £100 each year says RAC

Article date: 22 February 2008

Green driving could not only help the environment but also save drivers up to £100 each year in wasted fuel. New RAC research shows that motorists who choose against ‘eco-driving' contribute to a £2.2 billion* wasted fuel bill each year.

Even in the era of sat navs and modern high tech engines, the research also shows that British drivers are still wasting the equivalent of 267 Olympic sized swimming pools** of fuel due to poor journey planning, and drive over five billion miles each year while lost.

Two thirds (60%) of drivers aren't aware that changing gear when revs are high can reduce fuel consumption and four in 10 (40%) think that driving under 45mph always saves fuel. A further one in 10 (9%) drivers admits to checking their tyre pressure less than once a year with three quarters (77%) not aware that under-inflated tyres increase fuel consumption.

The RAC findings also show that drivers are not sure which driving practices can save fuel:

  • A 10th (9%) wrongly believe that braking regularly will reduce fuel consumption
  • Nearly a sixth (14%) incorrectly think warming the engine up before moving off reduces fuel used
  • Over a quarter (27%) aren't aware that switching off air conditioning significantly reduces fuel used.

David Bizley, RAC's technical director, comments: "With fuel prices at a record high, adopting eco driving techniques is an easy way for consumers to reduce their fuel consumption to help purses, wallets and the environment.  We hope that by raising awareness of the simple changes motorists can make to their driving style, they will be able to absorb some of the increasing cost of fuel through their own driving habits."

RAC has come up with the following hints and tips to help improve fuel efficiency and reduce cars' impact on the environment:

  1. Pump up to cut down: Under inflated tyres create more resistance when your car is moving, which means engines have to work harder, so more fuel is used and more CO2 emissions are produced (the owner handbook will advise the correct pressure)
  2. Less clutter means less CO2: Clutter in boots add weight and engines must work harder to transport it, so removing it can the engine's workload and cut CO2 emissions (also remove roof boxes or rails when not in use the drag caused increases fuel consumption )
  3. Driving at an appropriate speed reduces CO2: Not only does staying at or within the speed limit increase driver safety, it also reduces CO2 emissions and saves money on fuel costs
  4. Less stopping and starting means less CO2: Anticipating traffic flow will reduce fuel consumption
  5. Over-revving accelerates emissions: Modern car engines are designed to be efficient from the moment they are switched on, so revving up like a Formula 1 car in pole position while standing still only wastes fuel and increases engine wear
  6. Idling is wasting fuel: If you're likely to be at a standstill for more than three minutes, simply switch off the engine.
  7. Shop around: Use a fuel comparison website to find the best priced fuel in your region
  8. Don't get lost: Don't waste fuel by going the wrong way - plan route before leaving  with RAC Route Planner:


RAC Press office contact:
Vicki Burn 01603 684224/07800 692909, Sonia Clarke (020 7908 6570), Amy Funston (0207 908 6433) or Louis Blake (020 7908 6523)

Notes to editors:

About RAC
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists.  Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections and checks, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.

RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its members and has been ranked first for customer service by J.D. Power and Associates' UK Roadside Assistance Study for the past two years.

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005.  The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one in seven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 15%.

RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at

RAC commissioned Tickbox to carry out the research. Tickbox surveyed 1198 UK motorists between 11/02/08 and 18/02/08

* By changing driving habits motorists could save an average of 8% of their fuel bill (DSA), which equates to between £50 - £100 a year and which equates to an annual figure of £2.2bn.  This was based on the number of cars on the road - 30,817,036 (2006 DfT and excluding LCVs), most recent published annual consumption figures for petrol and diesel (2006  DfT). Calculation is based on 8% of using a petrol cost of £1.03 and a diesel cost of £1.07.

** 160,245,904.8 / 600,000 (average number of gallons to fill Olympic sized swimming pool) = 267

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