• Barclaycard’s Fuel+ research reveals Brits are a nation of fuel wasters as one third of motorists fail to use any eco-friendly driving techniques.
  • Younger drivers more likely to be eco-conscious as nine-in-ten “drive green”.
  • Keeping engines running when stationary, accelerating when approaching red lights and speeding are most expensive driving habits on British roads.

Research released by Barclaycard Fuel+ has found that British motorists are wasting £700 million on their fuel bills every year because they aren’t using eco-friendly driving techniques.

On average British drivers are wasting over 636 million litres of petrol a year that could be saved if they drove more efficiently, and one in three motorists (36 per cent) do not use any eco-driving techniques that could save them fuel and money.

What’s more, it’s the older generation of motorists who are the most likely to practice eco-unfriendly habits, such as leaving the engine running when stationary, accelerating unnecessarily and failing to use the right gear.

Over half (55 per cent) of those aged over 65 admit they don’t drive in ways that might save fuel and more than two in five (44 per cent) of those aged between 44 and 64 say the same.

Meanwhile, the research found that motorists aged 17-24 are the most eco-savvy when they get behind the wheel, with nine in ten (89 per cent) consciously using several fuel-efficient driving techniques.

Barclaycard Fuel+ found that the number one “fuel wasting habit” practiced by British motorists is using the clutch and revving the engine at red lights or in traffic jams, instead of using the handbrake to stabilise the vehicle (something that 40 per cent of motorists admit to).

This was followed by keeping the engine running unnecessarily for long periods of time (13 per cent), while 12 per cent say they use the air conditioning in their cars unnecessarily and one in ten (9 per cent) say they find themselves accelerating pointlessly when coming up to red lights or stationary traffic.

The other cause of fuel over-consumption – and therefore spending more money than necessary – is speeding. The Barclaycard Fuel+ research found that over half (51 per cent) of British motorists admit to not always sticking to the speed limit.

When it comes to finding alternatives to using the car, the nation’s eco-savvy individuals are in the minority. Barclaycard Fuel+ research found that just over half (51 per cent) of drivers are only willing to walk one mile before they choose to use their car to get to a destination.

John Bostock, Account Development Director, Barclaycard, which has pioneered Barclaycard Fuel+, said: “With such a huge amount of money wasted on fuel, we would benefit massively as a nation if we were more mindful when it comes to driving in a more eco-friendly way. We keep a close eye on our grocery spending, so shouldn’t we do the same here when it’s apparent how much we could save just by driving more efficiently?”

Top 10 ways UK motorists could cut their petrol consumption and save £700m a year:

  1. Use the handbrake when waiting at traffic lights and in traffic jams, rather than using the clutch and accelerator.
  2. Use up-to-date mapping tools to plot the most fuel-effective route for your journey.
  3. Refrain from using air conditioning or heating unless you really need it.
  4. Ensure that you’re driving in the correct gear.
  5. Remove roof racks and roof boxes when they aren’t required.
  6. Ensure that you’ve checked your tyres are inflated to the proper pressure.
  7. Try to keep the sun roof and windows closed.
  8. Use cruise control whenever it’s appropriate to do so.
  9. Don’t accelerate up to lights or traffic when you know you’re going to have to brake.
  10. Drive along roads with speed bumps smoothly to avoid unnecessary acceleration and declaration.

Tips compiled by Barclaycard Fuel+ and the Institute of Advanced Motorists.