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Drivers change habits over environmental concerns

By Craig Perry
21st November 2023

Three in five people are changing their driving habits over concerns about the environment

  • One in five people say they have substantially cut down on their monthly driving mileage in the last 12 months.
  • Over a half of all drivers say they are more aware of the impact their driving has on the environment than they were a year ago.

Motorists are changing their driving habits, according to new research1 from The Green Insurer. Over the past 12 months, half of all motorists surveyed (50%) claim they have cut down on the number of miles they drive each month, with 22% saying they have “substantially” reduced their mileage. Just 8% say their average monthly mileage has increased.

Other modifications implemented by motorists over the last year include driving more slowly on average to preserve fuel (24%); making more use of cruise control function on their vehicle to save fuel (12%); accepting lifts from other drivers or colleagues to use their car less (9%); using a speed limiter on their vehicle to save fuel (7%) and switching over to a hybrid car (6%).

Table of changes to driving habits cited by drivers over past 12 months

Reduced average monthly mileage 50%
Took action to drive more carefully to preserve fuel 31%
Took action to drive more slowly to preserve fuel 24%
Made use of cruise control function to save fuel 12%
Accepted lifts from other drivers to reduce own driving 9%
Switched to a smaller / lower emission vehicle 8%
Used a speed limiter on vehicle to save fuel 7%
Switched to a hybrid car 6%
Switched to an electric car 4%

The findings also reveal that these changes in driving habits are being propelled by concerns about the environment, which alongside the increased cost of living (76%), was cited as a major reason behind people adapting their behaviour. Three in five motorists (61%) state they had made changes to their driving habits in order to help the environment; 50% saw the change as part of a general switch to becoming more environmentally friendly and 48% wanted to reduce carbon emissions and pollution. Other reasons given included walking or cycling more to improve fitness (40%) and being pressured into being more environmentally friendly by their children (7%).

Over half (53%) of all drivers say they are now more aware of the impact that their driving has on the environment than they were a year ago. This explains why motorists are also becoming more selective about the types of journeys they make in their cars with 12% of people saying they are much less likely to drive into their nearest town or city rather than use public transport and 19% saying they are slightly less likely to use their car to make such a journey.

The research suggests that the adoption of new, more environmentally friendly practices by motorists are here to stay, as three in four people (76%) describe the changes in their driving habits as being long-lasting. Only 8% said any adjustments they had made in the last 12 months were temporary measures.

Paul Baxter, CEO, The Green Insurer, said: In response to escalating concerns about environmental sustainability, people’s driving habits are undergoing a transformative shift. These adjustments not only reflect a desire by people to reduce their individual environmental impact but also signify a broader cultural change as people look to prioritise eco-friendly practices into their lifestyle and purchasing choices.

We have reflected these changes in our newly launched car insurance policies, which have been designed to reward people for making positive adjustments in the way they drive and using their car in an environmentally responsible way.

  • [1] Independent consumer research conducted by Viewsbank among a nationally representative sample of 1,135 adults aged 18-plus including 888 car owners between November 17th and 20th 2023.