Page updated on: 18/03/2022

Eco-driving is style of driving that improves road safety and reduces fuel use and emissions. One of the important factors to improve road safety is planning ahead and spotting potential hazards in advance. By improving your hazard perception and planning skills you can reduce fuel use and improve your carbon footprint.

The first thing that you should consider is if you could reduce the number of journeys you make in your vehicle. Could you walk, cycle or take public transport instead?

If you do need to use your vehicle, the following advice can be used as a guide to safe eco-driving:

  • plan your journey to avoid road works, congestion or losing your way and avoid busy travel times
  • check tyres regularly and ensure they are inflated to the correct pressures
  • remove roof boxes or racks when not needed to reduce air resistance
  • don’t use your boot as a permanent storage space. Clear your vehicle of anything you don’t need to reduce the weight.
  • keep a safe distance from the car in front as this will help you to plan ahead
  • stay within speed limits
  • accelerate and brake gently. Avoid late braking
  • when conditions allow, use the highest gear possible without making the engine struggle
  • use cruise control where appropriate
  • use air conditioning sparingly
  • check your fuel use regularly to make sure you are getting the most from your vehicle
  • when parking, always try to reverse into a parking space so you can drive out of it as manoeuvring whilst the engine is cold uses a lot of fuel
  • when you start the engine, don’t keep it idling to heat up the engine. This wastes fuel and should not be necessary if you drive off gently and smoothly. Scrape ice in the winter rather than leave your car idling to warm up
  • if your vehicle is stationary and is likely to remain so for more than a couple of minutes, you should apply the parking brake and switch off the engine to reduce emissions and noise pollution.
  • many vehicles have stop/start technology – make sure it’s turned on to reduce fuel consumption and emissions
  • keeping your vehicle well maintained will also reduce fuel use

Travel, Roads & Parking