Bad driving habits that are costing you money

Bad driving habits that are costing you money

Older people the worst for wasting fuel.

Anna Jordan

Motoring and Travel

Anna Jordan
Updated on 12 May 2015

British drivers are wasting £700 million a year because they don’t adopt eco-friendly driving techniques, with older people being the biggest culprits.  

That's according to a new report from Barclaycard Fuel+, which highlighted the driving habits that lead to around 636 million litres of fuel a year being wasted.

The leading driving error was using the clutch and revving the engine at red lights or in traffic jams, rather than using the handbrake (40%).

Keeping the engine running unnecessarily (13%), using the air conditioning in cars unnecessarily (12%) and needlessly accelerating when coming up to red lights or stationary traffic also featured highly.

Speeding is a key factor too, with 51% of motorists admitting to not always sticking to the speed limit. By going faster, you use more fuel than you need to, therefore meaning you need to fill up again sooner.

Younger drivers are the greenest, with nine in 10 of 17-24 year olds driving with eco-conscious habits.

Meanwhile, 55% of those over 65 admit that they don’t use fuel-efficient methods when they drive, with 44% of those aged between 44 and 64 saying the same.

Walk the walk

[SPOTLIGHT]Drivers aren’t that keen on walking as an alternative to getting behind the wheel. The majority of travellers are only willing to walk a mile before they’ll use a car to get to their destination. 51% would get in the car if they had to travel more than a mile.

Londoners are the most eco-friendly, as drivers are happy to walk two miles before jumping in the car. Scottish and Yorkshire motorists take a close second, saying they would walk 1.9 miles.  

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Cutting fuel costs

There are plenty of simple things you can do which will cut your petrol consumption, and therefore save you some cash!

  • Use the handbrake instead of the clutch at traffic lights and in traffic jams
  • Use an up-to-date mapping tool to plot the most fuel-effective route for your trip
  • Don’t use air conditioning or heating unless you really need to
  • Make sure you drive in the right gear
  • Remove roof racks and boxes when you’re not using them
  • Inflate your tyres to the right pressure
  • Keep the sun roof and windows shut if you can
  • Use cruise control where possible
  • Don’t accelerate up to lights or traffic when you know you’ll have to brake
  • Drive along roads with speed bumps smoothly to avoid unnecessary acceleration and deceleration

Cut the cost of your petrol

Don't forget, as well as driving more efficiently, you should also take steps to cut the cost of the fuel that you do buy. Be sure to read How to find cheaper diesel and petrol.

And think about how you pay for that fuel. A cashback credit card will reward you with cash whenever you use it. And the Santander 123 cashback credit card will pay you a whopping 3% on your fuel spending! To see how it compares, read The best cashback credit cards.

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