Survey reveals drivers don't mind wasting fuel

  • Average of 1,845 miles wasted on bizarre fuel-wasting habits
  • Drivers will keep engine running until favourite song ends
  • 42% will travel further to by-pass busy roundabouts

A survey carried out by Shell says inefficient drivers are clocking up as many as 1,845 unnecessary miles a year to bypass minor inconveniences.

From avoiding school-run parents to finding larger parking spaces, the Shell research released this week shows that motorists don’t mind burning a bit of extra fuel to avoid small hold-ups.

According to the survey that polled the habits of 1,001 motorists in the UK, 42% of those questioned said they were prepared to take a longer route to by-pass a roundabout and 19% said they didn’t mind travelling further in order avoid a right turn into busy traffic.

Around 27% said they would drive past a cramped parking space until they found a bigger one and 22% said they wouldn’t bother trying to get into solitary spaces in multi-storey car parks and carry on up to higher floors where they could swing into slots that don’t have cars either side. The survey also revealed that 12% will go further to find a parking space under a streetlight where the car is less likely to be broken into. 

More understandable is the decision by a fifth of motorists to take more strangled, longer routes to avoid overcrowded areas on the school run and the same number admited to wasting ten or more miles a month getting lost in their car.

All together it means drivers could be wasting the equivalent of up to 1,845 miles a year that they do not need to make.

The research was released to mark Global Shell FuelSave Day on Saturday (October 15), when thousands of drivers in ten cities across Europe and Asia will aim to set a new Guinness World Record for the ‘largest fuel efficiency lesson’. It reveals that drivers unnecessarily waste fuel by leaving their engine running as they pop out to post a letter or wait for a favourite song to finish on the radio. 

Fuel efficiency measures, such as pumping tyres to the correct pressure, using higher gears and keeping the boot empty are already well known to many efficient and cost conscious drivers but Shell said its survey outlined a whole host of other ways that drivers are wasting fuel and money.

More than half (54%) admit they leave their engine running in winter to clear the windscreen of ice and 5% will even leave it running as they wait outside the school gates, despite the obvious waste of fuel this can cause.

Many motorists admit they are not as fuel efficient as they should be, despite the lean times. Few bother to monitor their fuel consumption and 61% drive 10 miles or more every month at speeds that they know waste fuel.  

David Wood, a spokesman for Shell, said: "Most drivers don't really take much notice of an extra mile here or an extra mile there but may do if they realised how much it all added up to.”