Driven to desperation

Friday 5 September 2008

Driven to desperation

  • Desperate drivers seek novel ways to save fuel
  • 90% of car owners have changed motoring habits to save money

Motorists are resorting to increasingly desperate measures to save fuel reveals research issued today by Saga Motor Insurance*. With petrol and diesel prices rising 20% in the past 12 months and the credit crunch forcing a tightening of belts, over 90% of drivers are taking steps to reduce the cost of motoring. However the study shows that, in their desperation, drivers' fuel saving efforts may be misguided.

One in six (15%) motorists incorrectly think that spreading the weight in the car, i.e. making passengers sit in the back will reduce fuel consumption. Another misguided one in ten (10%) think that filling up in the morning when petrol is cold will help and a desperate 6% of drivers hope that switching off the radio, or even changing the music they listen to, will save cash at the pumps.

Sensibly, the majority of drivers are adopting more traditional methods of reducing petrol consumption:

1. Switching off air-conditioning (54%)

2. Removing roof rack (46%)

3. Only driving to within permitted revs (44%)

4. Closing windows (33%)

The over 50s appear to be the kindest to their vehicles, with half (50%) of drivers only utilising half of their car's rev rangea fifth (20%) more than any other age group. Plus, almost all over 50s (93%) drive in the highest gear possible. Both techniques relieve stress on the engine and improve fuel economy.

However, it is not just rising petrol and diesel costs that are hitting motorists. With the proposed increases in car tax planned for 2009/10 and rising fuel costs, drivers are already considering cutbacks. Sensibly, almost three quarters (70%) of motorists are simply planning on driving less, walking or taking public transport to reduce fuel consumption. Over a fifth (21%) would consider changing their vehicle for a more cost efficient make or model and 5% may resort to car sharing.

Andrew Goodsell, Chief Executive of Saga Group, commented, "It's quite clear that people are feeling the financial strain every time they fill up their vehicle. By taking on board a few simple tips, they can dramatically cut their fuel bills."

In order to help motorist save money Saga Motor insurance recommends five ways to conserve fuel**:

1. Cutting back on the use of air-conditioning

2. Streamlining your car by removing roof racks and boxes

3. Driving smoothly by accelerating and braking progressively

4. Changing up through the gears at roughly half your car's rev limit

5. Inflating your tyres to the manufacturer's specification***

And busts four myths for conserving fuel **:

1. Distributing passenger weight around the cabin

2. Filling your tank in the morning when the weather is cooler. In the UK fuel is stored underground and is less susceptible to changes in ambient temperature

3. Wearing soft footwear

4. Coasting whenever possible; modern cars cut fuelling when the driver takes their foot off the accelerator.

For more information on Saga Motor Insurance please call 0800 068 8718.


Notes to Editors-

*Survey carried out by Opinium Research for Saga Motor Insurance between the 17th and 21st July 2008 among a sample of 2,209 UK representatives.

**Facts provided or verified by The AA

***The AA tested a small petrol engine car with tyres under-inflated by 8 psi. The fuel consumption increased by 5.8%. With petrol at 1.12 per litre , a fill-up of 50 would mean a tank containing 44.6 litres or 9.8 gallons. With correctly inflated tyres the car should achieve 38 mpg or 372 miles. Low tyre pressures reduced this figure to 353 miles, equating to half a gallon of fuel wasted at a cost of 2.55.

For further press information please contact the Saga Press Office on: 01303 771529.

Share this page

Get In Touch

The Saga Group Communications Team only deal with enquiries from the media.

If you're not a journalist, visit our contact us page for a full list of telephone numbers.