Fleet News

Motorists adapt driving habits as fuel prices soar

Soaring fuel prices have driven nearly nine in every 10 motorists to take action to reduce their fuel consumption, according to research commissioned by Nationwide Autocentres, the Halfords-owned car servicing, maintenance and MOT chain.

Actions being taken include driving more slowly and efficiently (62% of motorists), shopping around for fuel (55%) and reducing the number of journeys taken (50%).

Seventeen per cent have gone as far as trading their car in for a more efficient model in the last year, while 3% have even tried alternative fuels such as chip fat.

Overall it’s families who appear worst effected, with the 35 – 44 age group most likely to have changed cars or taken other actions. Youngsters, aged 17 – 24, have changed their motoring habits least.

In total, 86% say that are more concerned with fuel prices today than a year ago, while 85% of motorists are taking at least one course of action to reduce their fuel bills.

Fuel prices have risen an unprecedented 30 per cent in the past twelve months. It means that on average each motorist is spending over £300 more on fuel this year. The increase in VAT announced during Tuesday’s budget, together with the scheduled fuel duty increases in October and January, will push up prices further. By the New Year, UK motorists could be spending an additional £170 million per month on fuel.

Statistics released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change show that 4% less fuel was purchased during 2009 than two years previously, supporting the view that rising fuel prices during this period have driven motorists to cut their fuel costs.

Duncan Wilkes, chief executive at Nationwide Autocentres comments: “These are challenging times for motorists and higher pump prices are clearly having an impact. The good news is that drivers can do a lot to reduce their fuel bills.

“Our 5-point plan is a good starting point and regular servicing is also vital. An engine with fresh oil and new filters will run more efficiently than one that has been neglected. We have also launched a new specialised Fuel Service that can make even more significant savings.

“We are working hard to help reduce the cost of motoring.”

According to independent surveys, Nationwide Autocentres exclusive Fuel Service can reduce fuel consumption on cars over three years old by as much as 25%. It’s a ‘spring clean’ for engines, flushing out the dirty deposits that restrict the flow of fuel.

Nationwide Autocentres top five tips for cutting fuel bills:

1. Reduce your speed, accelerate gently and change into a higher gear as soon as possible.

2. Remove any unnecessary accessories, such as roof racks and boxes, and bike carriers.

3. Inflate tyres to the correct pressure – an underinflated tyre will use around 3% more fuel.

4. Switch off your aircon and save around 10%.

5. Stick rigidly to service schedules, and if you have an older car, treat it to a Fuel Service to cleanse the engine and flush out the deposits that stop it working efficiently.


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