Drivers associate cars with independence, survey reveals

15th November 2012

A new survey commissioned by motoring giant Ford has suggested that people rely heavily on their cars to give them independence but would not change their driving habits in order to save the environment.

The study revealed that the vast majority of motorists – 74 per cent – associate owning a car with freedom and just over half of drivers – 52 per cent – never use public transport, or take a train or bus less than once a month.

It is perhaps not surprising to see that motorists view their cars as essential, although it is arguably disappointing that many do not consider the environmental impact that their reliance on motoring has.

Despite the fact that 53 per cent of motorists said climate change is the world's most significant problem, some 77 per cent of those questioned would not reduce the amount of time they spend behind the wheel to help save the planet.

Cost savings, it seems, are the priority for the majority of motorists, as 72 per cent of drivers said they would consider how fuel-efficient a car was before deciding whether or not to buy it.

If motorists could see a cost benefit to changing their driving style, some 50 per cent of those questioned may alter the way they act behind the wheel.

Vice president of product development at For Europe Barb Samardzich suggested that the survey reveals a need for a drastic rethink of driving and its impact on the environment.

“The survey shows that we need a public dialogue and to pull in all the stakeholders to address the issues of mobility and environmental responsibility.

"As the world becomes more crowded and more urbanized, we don’t want to lose the freedom of mobility, and that’s why we need to take a collaborative and integrated approach", he said.

According to the AA, so-called eco-driving can make a real difference to the price motorists end up paying at the pump.
Some 50 employees at AA were involved in a test organised by Auto Express magazine to see if following eco-driving tips could really save them money.

The results were perhaps surprising with the average driver saving ten per cent on their weekly fuel bills and one person making a significant 33 per cent reduction in petrol costs.

Drivers involved in the test learnt that it is not only driving style which is important when it comes to saving pounds and the planet.

Motorists need to make sure they maintain their car and think twice before putting the key in the ignition.

A car should be serviced on a regular basis to ensure its engine is running at optimum efficiency, and car tyre pressure should be checked along with the engine oil.

Before setting off, drivers are advised to ensure they are not carrying unnecessary loads, such as a buggy that's not in use, as this can burn extra fuel unnecessarily.

Likewise, roof racks and boxes create additional wind resistance which uses up unnecessary fuel. As the AA advises, "if you don't need it take it off – if you do, pack carefully to reduce drag".

Sticking to the speed limits and avoiding breaking and accelerating harshly are also going to help motorists to drive in a more eco-friendly way, and may help cut costs.

ATS Euromaster will help to ensure your vehicle is as fuel-efficient as it can be.

Posted by Danielle Barge