Smart drivers 'could save billions'

Motorists in the UK could save a collective £18.5 billion every year on fuel by following a series of simple driving tips, according to experts.

Driving changes such as switching off or turning down air conditioning, keeping the car boot empty and not revving up the engine unnecessarily can help the average car owner save up to £544 a year.

The amount is sufficient to pay for two years' worth of road tax, while the benefits of efficient driving extend to other costs includingcar insurance and servicing.

The estimates are based on new figures from Shell showing how participants of its Smarter Cab Drivers initiative have improved efficiency and cut costs by driving smart.

According to Shell, the taxi drivers were able to reduce fuel consumption by 20% last month - double their initial target. At this rate the average cabbie can save up to £1,552 a year, the report said.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), said: "Behaviour change can sound like a technocratic idea, but our work with the taxi drivers shows that change is something best done with people.

"By understanding the factors that shape their driving habits, the taxi drivers have been able to make real improvement in their fuel efficiency without having to become environmental saints."

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