Starting this week, driving tests across England will include a new section to assess the driver’s ability to conserve fuel.
The UK’s Driving Standards Agency began to develop the program in 2006 in order to comply with new European Union laws. Germany, Holland, and other countries in the EU have already begun testing new drivers on their petrol-saving prowess. However, in no country does failing the “eco-safety” portion of the test affect the driver’s final assessment. In the UK, lead-footed drivers will instead receive a pamphlet with some helpful hints.
The tips are wide-ranging. In stick-shift vehicles, drivers are urged to slow down only with the brake and not by shifting gears—“gears are for going; brakes are for slowing,” they say. Other tips include moving to higher gears sooner, using cruise control whenever possible, and anticipating gaps between cars at roundabouts to avoid stopping.
“Eco-safe driving is a style of driving that has been proven to reduce fuel consumption, emissions, and contribute to road safety,” the pamphlet reads. “Reducing those emissions, helping to keep yourself safe and saving yourself money, is easier than you think.”
The campaign has focused their efforts on first time drivers, saying their clean-slate mentality towards driving makes them more likely to adopt the fuel-saving measures. The Driving Standards Agency found that new drivers can reduce their fuel use by up to 15 percent by using the techniques, while drivers who try to mend their old ways tend to use eight percent less.