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RAC

So how 'green' are Britain's drivers?

Motorists do understand there are certain driving behaviours which have an impact on the environment. But this does not always translate into the driving behaviour they practice on a regular basis.

With the recent volatility in oil prices causing instability in the price of fuel, people have started taking steps to offset the impact of driving on their household budgets. This has coincided with an increasingly regular focus on environmental issues in the mainstream media. This combination of events presents an opportunity, to create a permanent change in behaviour.

When it comes to how often we use our cars these days, two in three drivers say they now use their car less than before. Drivers who claim to be "dark green" are more likely to use their car less: 72% of them compared to only 58% for "light green" drivers. Beyond this, how "green" a driver believes him or herself to be, has a direct impact on their perspective on what is, or is not, environmentally unfriendly driving.

Four of the top six rated "good green driving behaviours" are amongst the least frequently practiced. So although drivers say that using their car for short journeys is "bad", they are still doing it. They are much more likely to be taking other – less inconvenient – steps to reduce their driving impact, for example by avoiding over-revving and driving more smoothly.

And where they have changed their driving style, or habits, it's clear that they are not doing it out of principle. In 2008, only 42% of motorists said they were most concerned about the environmental impact of driving – a drop of 8% in a year. This reinforces the message that people are becoming greener because of economic not environmental reasons.

Are we greener in other aspects of our lives?

Do today's motorists know how to be 'green' in their driving?