Hard-Up Drivers Desperate to Save – Could New Tyre Labels Help?

Nov 20, 2012   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Credit Cards, Money Saving Tips  //  3 Comments

Need for Speed Throttling Britain's Drivers

The majority of drivers want to save money on fuel, but half confess that they are too stubborn to improve their fuel economy, which could save them £270 per year. Could a breakdown of the potential savings encourage more careful driving habits? Could new EU tyre labelling regulations help drivers to improve their fuel economy? Find out more below.

Need for Speed: Cutting Corners at Cutting Costs

The price of unleaded petrol has almost doubled in the 12 years. It’s little wonder that English motorists are desperate to save money on fuel.

And according to the Energy Saving Trust’s Fuel Your Passion campaign, nine in ten drivers actively shop around to find the best deal on fuel.

This 90% will presumably find that prices are lower in supermarket forecourts. The gap between supermarket prices and the UK average has leapt tenfold since the millenium, and now stands at over 2p per litre cheaper (Source: AA Fuel Price Reports). This is aided by promotional schemes such as Morrison’s Fuel Britannia campaigns.

Banks have also shown awareness of the pressure that fuel places on the family budget. The Santander 123 credit card, for example, offers 3% cashback on petrol (read more).

But while price competition is something that drivers look out for, altering driving habits to save money through fuel economy is a much harder nut to crack.

Inefficient driving costs English motorists almost £7 billion per year in wasted fuel, the Trust believes. And though 80% of car owners admit that following simple driving tips could save them money, a stubborn half (51%) are set against changing their habits.

A survey of 1,749 motorists has found that men are far less keen to change their ways, with two-thirds of respondents proving resistant to being told what to do or simply preferring their speed to economy. 95% of drivers reported that they exceed the speed limit on motorways, which consumes far more petrol.

In the face of such resistance, no single fuel-economy tip is likely to prove fully convincing with respect to the estimated annual savings. Listing the main tips together, however, offers a more comprehensive idea of the savings to be made with some more refined habits on the road.

  • Keeping tyres inflated regularly.
  • Driving at 70mph on motorways rather than 80+
  • Turning off air conditioning.

With the help of the Energy Savings Trust’s online app, we’ve compiled the potential savings into a series of tables. The app is designed to incentivise more discipline in driving by offering enticing suggestions for how to spend the savings, based on the user’s interests.

TYRESLow Mileage (<5,600)Medium (5,600-12,000)High (>12,000)
Small Engine (<1.4 litres)£12£24£35
Medium Engine (1.4-2.0 litres)£15£31£44
Large Engine (>2.0 litres)£21£43£62
SPEEDLow Mileage (<5,600)Medium (5,600-12,000)High (>12,000)
Small Engine (<1.4 litres)£10£20£29
Medium Engine (1.4-2.0 litres)£10£20£29
Large Engine (>2.0 litres)£10£20£29
AIR CONDITIONINGLow Mileage (<5,600)Medium (5,600-12,000)High (>12,000)
Small Engine (<1.4 litres)£29£61£87
Medium Engine (1.4-2.0 litres)£36£77£109
Large Engine (>2.0 litres)£51£108£154


So, even for a car with a small engine, drivers might expect to save an average of £105 per year, while drivers of gas-guzzling vehicles who put the miles in could save up to £250 per year. With the full range of tips, including smoother driving, removing excess weight and roof boxes, and turning off the engine during standstill, drivers could save an average of £270, the Trust says.

Reflecting on the results, the Trust’s Tim Anderson said that drivers concentrated solely on finding the cheapest petrol whilst largely ignoring the simple tips that could save them much more.

Drivers are so keen to save money on fuel that they’re happy to spend time trying to find the cheapest petrol station – but don’t want to follow simple tips which could save them around £270 a year.

The Energy Saving Trust is here to show you how the impact of those rises can be reduced. Our new online Fuel Your Passion app shows how much money drivers could save by following smarter driving tips – and what they could spend that cash on.

A little bit of knowledge goes a long way, and tips like properly inflating tyres and driving more smoothly can make a real difference at the pumps, which is important when times are so hard.

Tim Anderson, Senior Knowledge Manager for Transport, Energy Saving Trust

EU Tyre Labels: Could This Make a Difference?

EU Tyre LabelsThe mission to improve fuel economy could be helped by a new labelling system that will identify the best performing tyres for saving fuel.

New EU regulations due to come into effect this month will see new tyres labelled using a system similar to the energy efficiency labels currently found on white goods.

The left-sided icon represents rolling resistance or fuel efficiency, which is graded A to G. The difference between any two grades is equivalent to a rise or fall in fuel consumption of between 2.5%-4.5% (about 0.42-0.56 mpg for a 36 mpg car).

Therefore, drivers who spend £30 per week on petrol might expect to save up to £70 over the year per improved fuel efficiency grade when choosing new tyres.

See the following video for more detail on the new labelling system.


Until now, anyone buying new tyres for their card would have had no idea how safe, how economical, or how environmentally noise friendly the tyres they were buying were just by looking at them.

The new legislation aims to change that by clearly labelling all new tyres with the system similar to the consumer labelling found on new household appliances such as fridges and washing machines.

The new EU tyre label is very similar to energy efficiency labels that we already have on white goods like fridges and washing machines. Two of the criteria are on an A to G grading; ‘A’ being the best, ‘G’ being the worst. The third criteria, passing noise, is measured slightly differently. Around 20% of a vehicle’s fuel consumption is directly linked to its tyres. Therefore, one of the criterias [sic], fuel efficiency, is very important. Also, safety is very important, which is where the EU label goes further than white good labels, in the ‘wet grip / braking performance’.

Paul Berrington, Tyre Labelling Expert, HiQ

The new law will apply to all car, van and truck tyres. The aim is to make driving more cost effective, quieter and safer for the UK’s road users. Authorities also hope that the new system will encourage drivers to buy new and safe tyres rather than part-worn tyres which are commonly sold by back-street garages and bucket stores.

Part-worn tyres – the biggest problem we find with part-worn tyres is safety. You don’t know where this part-worn tyre came from. On the outside, it may look like an ok tyre to the untrained eye. If that vehicle has been involved in an accident, there may be some unforeseen damage on the inside construction of the actual tyre itself. But also, if you look at it the economical way, this tyre does not come with the average seven or eight millimetres of tread that a new tyre will come with, so that’s where false economy is a big, big issue as well.

However, tyre fitting companies are warning that although labelling is good news for drivers, the system is not exhaustive.

On the label itself, it’ll test three criteria: rolling resistance; wet grip; and passing noise. Now, the EU have picked these criteria, and, albeit these are three important bits of criteria, they are by no means the exhaustive list of what the average driver needs out of their tyre. Independent magazines – they test 15 different criteria. Manufacturers – they test in excess of 50 criteria. And that goes a long way on to telling the full picture of what the average driver really wants out of their tyres. It’s definitely a step in the right direction in educating drivers about safety and environmental factors for their tyres.

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  • http://blog.which4u.co.uk/money-saving-tips/hard-up-drivers-desperate-to-save-could-new-tyre-labels-help#comment-734958880 Chris

    I didn’t know air conditioning could effect fuel usage,would having your window open be more efficient?

  • john

    great post!