Bad driving costs UK motorists £700 million per year

AM528B brake lights stacked up on a highway in heavy traffic

Drivers in the UK could save an average of £84 every year by driving in a more environmentally friendly way, The Telegraph reports.

Inefficient driving styles mean that British motorists have to stump up an extra £700 million more than is necessary in petrol and diesel bills annually, new research claims. Changes drivers can make to save money on fuel include making sure that they are using the most efficient gear, rather than remaining in low gears when cruising, and switching off the engine when stopped at traffic lights.

Poor driving also means that UK drivers get through much more fuel than is necessary, with 636 million litres of fuel wasted each year. Bad habits that contribute to the extra fuel used include motorists balancing the clutch and accelerator when stopped, rather than simply pulling up the handbrake. Another common fuel-wasting habit is staying in too low a gear instead of changing up when maintaining a steady speed.

Surprisingly, a survey carried out by Barclaycard Fuel+ found that it's those in the 17 to 24-year-old band who are the most fuel efficient drivers, while over half of drivers aged 65 years old or older believed that their driving style could be more economical. Around six in 10 of the respondents claimed that the need to work out where they were going prevented them from concentrating fully on driving frugally.

John Bostock, account development director at Barclaycard, told The Telegraph: "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?"