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Drivers acknowledging their carbon footprint impact

By Craig Perry
22nd February 2024

UK motorists wake up to the environmental impact of their cars carbon footprint and plan to reduce mileage and energy use.

  • The majority of UK adults (85%) are either slightly or very concerned about global warming/climate change.
  • Only one fifth (22%) of adults say they have taken no measures at all to reduce their carbon footprint in the last year, with the majority taking action by reducing the time their heating is on, or reducing electricity and gas consumption.
  • Almost a third (32%) have cut the number of miles they’ve driven in the last 12 months. A further 28% predict that they will reduce mileages still further in the year ahead.

The majority of UK adults (85%) are either slightly or very concerned about global warming/climate change, and only 22% say they had taken no action at all to reduce their carbon emissions in the past year.

Adults in the 18-24 age group are the most concerned about global warming, with 91% saying they are worried about climate change. Women are also more likely to have concerns (90%) than men (79%), and less likely to have taken no action at all (21% compared to 24% of men).

Research1 from The Green Insurer, which is focused on helping drivers reduce carbon emissions and drive in a more environmentally friendly way, finds that motorists are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of driving on the environment and are cutting the miles they drive each year in response. One third (32%) have reduced the number of miles they drive annually in the past 12 months.

Cutting mileage is the third most popular measure taken by UK adults to reduce carbon emissions, following a reduction in the amount of time heating is switched on (cited by 51%) and taking other measures to reduce electricity and gas consumption (43%).

Other common measures taken include reducing air travel (18%), making changes to a house by fitting insulation or double glazing (16%), switching to sustainable electricity or gas (11%) and installing solar panels (8%).

Looking to the future, 28% of adults will continue to reduce the amount they drive in the year ahead, while 43% will reduce the time their heating is switched on, 38% will take other measures to reduce the amount of electricity and gas they use, and 25% will make changes to their houses by fitting insulation or double glazing.

When those who had not taken any measures to reduce carbon emissions were asked what had stopped them from doing so, the highest response (44%) was that they didn’t think it necessary, followed by 35% who thought it was too expensive to take action, and 22% who thought they couldn’t make a difference.

Others felt that they didn’t know how to take action to reduce their carbon emissions (11%), while 7% said that they needed help from companies to reduce their emissions.

Paul Baxter, CEO, The Green Insurer said: It’s encouraging to see that so many people are taking measures to reduce their carbon footprints in response to concerns about climate change. We also note that some of those who have not yet taken action don’t feel fully informed about how to cut their emissions, or would like more help from companies about how to do so.

We aim to provide a solution to that concern by giving customers the option to easily buy genuinely green car insurance, which is the first in the UK to offset all carbon emissions while also helping drivers to cut the costs of driving and insurance.

Driving habits are changing across the UK, along with all the other measures people are taking to reduce power consumption and heat loss from their homes. We have designed our insurance policies to reward people for how they have changed their driving behaviour.

  • [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.
  • [2] Consumer Intelligence Car Insurance Price Index August 2023.