7 in 10 UK drivers responsible for choosing and buying fuel have changed the way they drive to reduce fuel costs

With fuel prices increasing, many are changing the way they drive or travel to spend less

The author(s)

  • Lewis Hill Public Affairs
  • Gideon Skinner UK Head of Political Research
  • Ben Roff Public Affairs
Get in touch

New research by Ipsos in the UK shows rising fuel costs are having a large impact on those responsible for purchasing fuel for their vehicles. Over the last six months, 71% of those who drive say they have taken steps to reduce their spending on fuel while a further 17% plan to in the next 6 months. Only 1 in 10 (11%) say they have not made any changes and do not plan to. 

The most common change has been to driving style, to use the accelerator less to save on fuel (40% of those who say they have taken steps to reduce their fuel spending) while a similar proportion say they are now driving slower than the speed limit on motorways to improve fuel economy (38%). Around a third (35%) are using the air conditioning less. 

Fewer are making bigger, and potentially more costly, changes such as buying fuel efficient tyres (9% of those who have made changes) or changing their car or vehicle to a more fuel-efficient model (10%) or electric or hybrid model (10%). 

Many drivers are making changes to the way they travel altogether. Three-quarters of those who have taken steps to reduce their fuel spending (75%) say they have already started to use the car less by taking fewer or shorter journeys. Around a third now walk for at least some of their journey and 1 in 5 (18%) have switched to public transport for at least some of their journey. One in 6 (16%) now use a bicycle, skateboard or other non-motorised form of transport, while 11% have switched to carpooling for parts of the journeys. 

Lewis Hill, Head of Transport and Infrastructure Research at Ipsos, said:

As fuel prices reach record highs, and with fuel price protests taking place across the UK, our findings suggest that the high cost of fuel has already changed drivers’ behaviour. As well as leading many to change the way that they drive, the vast majority of drivers say they are using their cars less often, and some have already switched to alternative forms of transport to get around. With the cost of living crisis continuing to bite, many drivers expect more belt-tightening in the months to come.

Technical note:

  • Ipsos UK interviewed a representative quota sample of 1451 adults aged 18-75 in the UK, of whom 1112 are responsible for choosing and paying for the fuel for the vehicle they drive and 987 who drive and have taken measures to reduce the amount they spend on fuel. Interviews took place on the online Fast Facts Solution using the Ipsos.Digital platform between 14th and 15th June 2022. The sample obtained is representative of the population with quotas on: Age, Gender, and Region
  • The data has been weighted to the known offline population proportions for age, working status and social grade within gender, and for government office region to reflect the adult population of the UK.
  • All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.
  • For more information please contact the team.
     

The author(s)

  • Lewis Hill Public Affairs
  • Gideon Skinner UK Head of Political Research
  • Ben Roff Public Affairs

More insights about Travel, Tourism & Transport

Society