Almost three quarters of UK drivers have no idea how much carbon dioxide their car emits, a survey has shown.
But the study by Energy Saving Trust (EST) found 89% of consumers buying a new vehicle want environmental features brought to their attention.
Fuel efficiency came third behind price and style/look as the thing that grabbed consumers' attention in car advertisements.
The poll also revealed that 51% take their car on journeys of less than one mile and 71% for trips of less than 1.5 miles.
EST said that if everyone who bought a new car chose the greenest car in its class, a typical motorist could save £375 a year in fuel costs, or nearly £1 billion for all UK motorists.
The survey supported a EST report of the car market over the last 40 years which found car buyers were making poor choices both economically and environmentally when it came to purchasing new vehicles.
EST chief executive Philip Sellwood said: "The bottom line is that, at the moment, the car market is failing: there is no good reason why at a time of rising fuel prices and higher vehicle excise duties for higher CO2 vehicles, people are continuing to buy inefficient cars. It's not good for the environment or the pockets of customers."
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