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RAC

Are we greener in other aspects of our lives?

Alongside air travel, the car is environmental campaigners' most high profile target for change. In a broader context, how does the environment rank in consumers' understanding, attitudes and behaviours?

Campaigns to encourage people to reduce their energy consumption have been on-going for some time. From the "Save it" campaign of the 1980s to the "Are you doing your bit?" campaign running from 1998 to 2002, Government initiatives over the past 20 years have targeted a range of areas including energy efficiency, waste, water usage as well as transport.

As a result, some "green" behaviours are more widely understood and practiced than others, not least because some are easier to do than others. We have, for example, become accustomed to the convenience of recycling at home and our local council collecting bottles, tins and paper from our door, instead of having to take them to the local recycling centre ourselves.

RAC's research found that from a list of 12 "green" activities – including household recycling, energy saving and reducing food waste – half of motorists claim to regularly practice between 10-12 of them, whilst a further two in five (39%) practice between six to nine. (Fig.10)

This means the vast majority of motorists already do something to offset their impact on the environment - and not always things that save them money.

Using the car less comes well down the list, but from the driver's point of view do they really have a choice when it comes to their cars, even if they have a desire to be greener? If we are to see a significant shift in motoring behaviours, will the alternatives need to be as easy to use or to do as, say, recycling has become?

I think it's what you get used to, isn't it? A few years ago when the recycling bags came in, it was like, I'm not going to separate. You've got to separate tins, and you've got to separate cardboard and newspapers. Whereas you just do it so automatically now. You get used to it.

Alan, motorist from Leicestershire

Environmental policies - impact on and concerns of the motorist

So how 'green' are Britain's drivers?