Fuel prices: Survey says drivers slow down to save cash

24/02/11

Petrol station forecourt

Drivers are willing to slow down on the motorway to cut fuel costs, a survey by the AA has suggested.

Of 15,000 drivers who took part, 59% said they would think about slowing down if it saved them money.

Driving at 80mph - as well as being illegal - is thought to use a quarter more fuel than driving at 70mph.

The AA figures come after a litre of unleaded petrol last month rose to almost £1.30 because of high global oil prices and the VAT hike to 20%.

Accelerating gently and avoiding unnecessary braking by reading the road ahead will also cut fuel use, the AA says.

Meanwhile the cost of filling up is likely to rise even further because of pro-democracy protests causing uncertainty in countries which export oil, like Libya and Bahrain.

Newsbeat spoke to people in Barnstaple in Devon to see if rising fuel prices were really having an effect on their driving habits.

Mike Copping, cafe worker

Mike Copping,

"I run a small 1.4 Clio that's now quite old.

"In recent months I've been travelling a lot to places like London and Manchester - to see United play.

"You really notice the car eating fuel.

"It used to cost me £40 to get to Manchester and back. Now it's £40 just to get there.

"My driving style has changed recently - I go easy on the accelerator, don't pull away too hard and try to keep my gear changes smooth.

"Also I try to plan ahead. If you can see what's coming up you can adjust your driving accordingly and save fuel.

"It's hard in my rural area though, because the roads have bends and you're constantly slowing down and speeding up."

Ceri Barratt, care worker

Ceri Barratt

"With the price of petrol going up so much, I now car-share as much as I can with my partner.

"I won't drive to work unless I have to.

"I have children, which means I do have to plan when I drive and I use some tactics to slow down my fuel consumption.

"I've started slowing down sooner rather than braking suddenly.

"When I come to a roundabout I now go down the gears rather than slam on the brakes at the last minute.

"I've also started driving slower on the motorway because the faster you drive, the more fuel you burn."

Amy Kingdom, student, and Jamie Palmer

Amy Kingdom and Jamie Palmer

Amy: "I've got a Peugeot 306 and I use it everyday to come into college and back.

"The last few weeks has definitely gone up - 20 quid doesn't last me a week anymore. It gets me three days now.

"I try not to rev my engine too much, but I can't really do anything different - it's still going to cost me loads."

Lauren Brown, travel agent

Lauren Brown

"I've really noticed the cost of petrol increase in the last six months.

"My fuel use has gone up around 40% and it now costs around £25 a week to get to and from work.

"It used to be about £10 or £15.

"Driving wise, I try not to go in peak times anymore, when you're constantly stopping and starting - but that's not always convenient.

"Generally I just use the car less!"