Driving test candidates are getting fuel-efficiency tips from their examiners for the first time, following changes to the practical test this week.
Hopefuls are told how they can save money and reduce their impact on the environment by adopting so-called ‘eco-safe’ driving techniques.
Transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: ‘To help the next generation of motorists drive in a way that is better for their wallets and the environment, the driving test will now assess how successfully they follow fuel-efficient and eco-safe driving advice’.
Examiners are giving drivers feedback on how green their driving is at the end of the test, but the assessment won’t be used to pass or fail them.
The move is backed by a £3m investment in fuel-efficient driving which, as part of the government’s Act on CO2 campaign, aims to help all motorists cut their fuel costs.
Smarter driving tips are currently being aired on radio stations across England, and a new television campaign will follow early next year.
Fitzpatrick said: ‘Drivers can save around a month’s worth of fuel each year by taking simple steps, like ensuring their tyres are correctly pumped up, changing gear earlier to keep revs low and avoiding carrying unnecessary clutter in the boot’.
A Department of Transport statement said drivers could save three months’ worth of fuel each year by opting for a fuel-efficient new car.
Which? motoring editor Richard Headland said: ‘The potential fuel savings you can make by choosing a more efficient car and driving it better are enormous – running into hundreds of pounds a year.
‘We welcome this move to encourage new drivers to adopt eco-driving techniques.’
To see what we thought of top hybrid cars such as a Prius, read our greener cars review. You’ll also find tips on fuel-efficient driving in our free greener motoring guide.
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Which? is publishing its guide to the top 100 eco cars in October – packed with detailed car reviews, thought-provoking features and money-saving greener driving advice. Look out for it on newsstands next month.