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Brits fall behind on green motoring – Younger drivers lead change

Whilst the UK has become a nation of keen recyclers, Government campaigns and developments from motor manufacturers have failed to make as much impact when it comes to the environment and motoring. In the annual Europcar Observatory, an independent survey covering 7 countries in Europe and over 5000 drivers, 45% of Brits said they have changed the way they drive to save the environment, compared to 54% in Europe. Brits aren’t quite as switched on to green driving as their European cousins.

However, in a sign of a shift in thinking about attitudes to car ownership, of those that are tuned in to greener driving in the UK, 79% are already using car hire. And it is the under 35s where the green driving message is really having the biggest impact. In the survey, over half of drivers in this age group said they would give up their car and 60% would opt to car share instead.

But, whist 45% are happy to drive differently to be green, we’re not quite ready to give up a car for one using alternative fuel. Just half would consider it, compared to 65% of drivers in Europe. And, only 18% of Brits have ever driven an alternative fuel car, compared to over 30% in Europe.

Catriona Lougher, Marketing Director for Europcar said: “It seems that whilst the average householder is doing their ‘bit’ by recycling, changing to low voltage light bulbs and turning down the thermostat – when it comes to the car, keeping that green message front of mind is more of a challenge. A lot of this comes down to the fact that the car is still a status symbol, and whilst we are happy to find ways to cut motoring costs, the environmental benefits of easing off the pedal or using the car less are secondary for most UK motorists.

“However it was encouraging to see that car hire is playing a role in supporting the environment. 60% of those that have used car hire would give up their car for environmental reasons and around 38% of drivers see car hire as a practical option offering flexibility, cost savings versus ownership and environmental benefits.”

“Certainly at Europcar we are making car hire easy and accessible for customers to support greener mobility. From free delivery and collection to a fleet comprising some of the newest and most fuel efficient vehicles including hybrids and the ability to choose a vehicle group by average CO2 emissions, Europcar is working hard to be the car hire provider of choice for environmentally conscious customers.”

*The Europcar Observatory is an annual survey. The survey was conducted by Ipsos Marketing on behalf of Europcar from August to 14th September 2009. 5000 people who owned at least one car in the household or drivers were surveyed across 7 countries with a representative sample in terms of gender, age and region of each country.

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