Nearly half of British motorists are driving less because of rising costs – and up to 10 MILLION could ditch their car altogether, a study revealed today.
The annual study of motoring trends revealed that one in five drivers now spends more on fuel every week than they do on food.
Researchers for Continental Tyres found the average driver is now spending £30 per week on petrol and 81 per cent said their motorists costs have risen in the past year.
Motoring is so expensive that low fuel consumption is now a key consideration when buying a new car for 80 per cent of consumers.
But despite the soaring cost of driving, most motorists do not implement simple techniques which could save them up to #300 per year, the study found.
More than four in ten drivers are oblivious to actions like removing heavy items and checking tyre pressures which would save them money.
Continental Tyres spokesperson Laura Hardy said: “Increased motoring costs are a real concern for many households, especially as so many people rely on their car.
“We may not be able to influence fuel prices but simple changes to our driving habits can save around £300 a year.”
The survey of 2,000 motorists found that 31 per cent – the equivalent to 10 million nationwide – are considering ditching their car because of rising costs.
But despite this one in three drivers are optimistic about the future and expect scientists to have completely replaced fossil fuels within the next ten years.
Laura Hardy said tyres play a key role in fuel consumption, a fact which is often overlooked by drivers – the survey found that 2.5 million never check their tyre pressures.
She added: “Tyres are a car’s only contact with the road and therefore deserve a bit of extra attention.
“A few simple checks on your tyres will save you money and tyre choice can also affect fuel consumption.
“There is a lack of awareness about the availability of tyres specifically engineered to be eco-friendly as well as having good wet braking safety qualities, which can save up to 3 per cent on fuel and increase tyre mileage.”
New tyre labelling laws launched in the UK in November inform the consumer how fuel efficient and safe a tyre is.
Motorists can also find tyre tests in independent magazines which look at up to 15 other performance criteria to help them find the right rubber for their car.
Free information on how to save this money is available at www.ecodrivingtips.co.uk
Follow these simple eco driving tips to save you money:
Before you set off:
” Check the pressure of your tyres regularly (every two weeks is recommended). The right tyre pressure means less rolling resistance – and therefore reduced fuel consumption and more environmentally friendly driving. Incorrect pressures can also increase tyre wear and reduced safety.
” Get rid of unnecessary loads. This includes removing your roof rack whenever it is not needed – this alone can increase fuel consumption by up to 10%. Empty roof boxes are also thirsty gas guzzlers – remove if you are not using them.
” Think about whether a vehicle that you mainly use around town needs the spare tyre – a compressor with a tyre sealant like the ContiComfortKit is far lighter and saves room.
” Make sure your tyres are properly aligned to reduce fuel usage and avoid uneven wear which can cause you to prematurely replace your tyres.
” Plan unfamiliar journeys to reduce the chance of getting lost and check the traffic news before you go to avoid delays.
” After starting your engine, set off immediately. Modern motors no longer need a warm-up phase. In winter, scrape the ice rather than leave the car running for a long period to clear the windscreen.
” Always drive in the highest possible gear for the speed you are doing, but do not let the engine labour.
” Drive within the speed limit – the faster you go the more fuel you use. 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.
” Avoid “racing starts” at traffic lights. Accelerate gradually and move up the gears quickly.
” Drive with a little anticipation and with a little more distance to the vehicle ahead of you. This way you can avoid harsh braking. Your vehicle needs much more energy to start rolling again after slowing down.
” Only turn on the air conditioning for a longer time when really needed. In the summer, park in the shade or use a screen shade as this saves money on cooling down the car.
” Heated front/rear windows and demister blowers all use energy so make sure they’re off when you don’t need them.