UK drivers 'most fuel-efficient'

British motorists are more fuel-efficient than drivers in Europe's main motoring nations, a poll has shown.

A continent-wide survey of more than 5,000 drivers by the Fiat motor company found that with a figure of 62% in possible fuel efficiency, British motorists beat drivers in Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Findings of the study, which used data from half a million European car journeys, revealed that the British are efficient gear shifters, with their driving style built around "exceptionally smooth and thoughtful handling of gears".

According to the survey, while the French lack good gear handling ability, they brake gently and readily adopt fuel-saving, gear-change techniques.

The study found that the Germans, who accelerate too hard but maintain reached speeds very well, have the best road system, which requires cars to make stops due to congestion or traffic lights for only six minutes per day on average.

The Italians struggle the most with maintaining an average speed and slowing down gently, and the Spanish, who fall at the bottom of the five-nation eco driving table, are best at learning new driving techniques.

Cars in Britain and France have to stop for eight minutes on average per day, while the figure for the Italians and the Spanish is nine minutes and 10 minutes respectively.

Average traffic speeds in Germany, Britain and France are 21mph, while the figure for Italy and Spain is 19mph.

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