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Greenest Drivers:
Auto Trader Reveals Eco Habits of UK Drivers

As the world becomes increasingly conscious of our impact on the environment, there's never been a better time to explore ways to reduce your carbon footprint. One powerful step you can take is to consider driving or leasing an electric vehicle. But that's just the beginning.

Here at Auto Trader, we believe that making environmentally friendly journey choices shouldn't mean having to choose between your pocket or the planet. For some people, electric cars are a perfect way to make an environmentally friendly vehicle choice but we know that right now, electric cars aren't the right option for many people. Regardless of what car we drive, our daily habits, from recycling to conserving energy, can all contribute to protecting our planet.

To shed light on the eco-habits of UK drivers we conducted an extensive survey of over 1,200 drivers to uncover the nation's most common eco-habits, as well as the areas where we can collectively improve.

In this study, we will reveal the eco-habits that Brits excel at and those that need a bit more attention. From bringing reusable bags to the supermarket to choosing public transport over driving, we'll highlight the eco-practices that have become part of our everyday life, and which we need to practise a little more! As well as which eco-savvy drivers are leading the way.

Most Common Eco-Habits

Eco-Habit % of Respondents Who Always, or Regularly Do This
#1 People say they take their own reusable bags when shopping 88%
#2 People say they air dry clothes rather than tumble dry 75%
#3 People say they recycle at home, using curb side recycling for household items 73%
#4 People use their own reusable water bottle 66%
#5= People say they switch their washing machine to 30 degrees 64%
#5= People say they wear more clothes to stay warm than turn up the central heating 64%
#6 People say they recycle items that can't be recycled at home e.g., batteries, water filters, black food trays, crisp packets etc. 62%
#7 People turn off their computers and TVs, rather than using standby 60%
#8 People use Tupperware or reusable wraps over foil or clingfilm 59%
#9 People drive slower to use less fuel 42%
#10 People buy second hand toys, clothes, appliances, furniture etc. for sustainability reasons 34%
#11 People use their own reusable cup when buying hot drinks 31%
#12 People choose and buy food with less air miles 26%
#13 Drivers use public transport over driving their car 23%
#14= People avoid eating meat for sustainability reasons 20%
#14= People say they research how sustainable a brand or product is before they buy from them 20%
#15 People say they shop in refill stores to reduce packaging waste 18%
#16 People car-share on work commutes and school runs 17%
#17 People will choose vegan food options for sustainability reasons 16%
#18 People say they cycle instead of using the car 15%
#19 People say they use an e-bike or e-scooter 13%

Our research reveals people are increasingly embracing eco-friendly habits, particularly those that are easy to incorporate into daily life, such as using reusable shopping bags and air-drying clothes. However, there is room for growth in adopting more sustainable practices.

At the forefront of eco-conscious actions is the use of reusable shopping bags, with a staggering 88% of respondents reporting that they always or regularly take their own bags when shopping. This simple yet effective habit greatly reduces plastic waste, alongside another common eco practice: the use of reusable water bottles that sees a considerable number of adopters (66%).

Three in four respondents admit to air drying clothes instead of using tumble dryer, embracing a practice that not only conserves energy but also prolongs the life of clothing items and saves on your energy bill. Yet not all eco-habits have gained equal traction. One noteworthy example is the use of reusable cups for hot drinks, which only 31% of participants reported doing. Other important habits that can reduce your carbon footprint, such as choosing food with fewer air miles or opting for public transport over personal vehicles also fail to be common practice, with only 26% and 23% of drivers regularly doing these eco-measures, respectively.

Drivers With the Best and Worst Eco-Habits

Electric car in sunset

From Lexus and Tesla enthusiasts to Porsche and Audi aficionados, some drivers are taking remarkable strides towards reducing their carbon footprint and adopting eco-friendly habits.

Top 5 Drivers With The Best Eco-habits

1. Lexus Drivers

Lexus drivers are crowned the drivers with the best eco habits, thanks to their pioneering behaviour in reducing road congestion and emissions, with an impressive 63% frequently carpooling. Beyond sharing rides, Lexus drivers are also public transport advocates, as a majority (88%) of Lexus drivers admit opting for public transport over personal vehicles, demonstrating their dedication to reducing emissions on the road.

Furthermore, Lexus owners also adopt consistent sustainable eating habits. Not only are 3 in 4 (75%) Lexus drivers embracing a vegan diet for sustainability reasons, a high number of Lexus drivers claim to prioritise purchasing food with fewer air miles - highlighting their commitment to reducing their impact on the environment.

2. Tesla Drivers

Unsurprisingly, Tesla drivers are setting a high eco-standard, with all drivers (100%) claiming to use their own water bottle, and an impressive 94% switching their washing machines to an eco-friendlier 30-degree cycle, significantly reducing their carbon footprint.

Furthermore, over half (56%) of Tesla drivers opt to shop in refill stores, championing the reduction of waste packaging in their daily lives and a grand majority (81%) claim to buy second hand items for sustainability reasons.

3. Porsche Drivers

Porsche owners round up the top three drivers with the best eco-habits. Not only do they stand out with 100% claiming to prefer air drying over tumble drying, thus saving energy, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but the majority of Porsche drivers also claim to adopt a slower driving style to save fuel and lower emissions.

4. Audi Drivers

Audi drivers demonstrate a commitment to sustainability when it comes to buying products, with 61% claiming to research the sustainability of brands and products before making a purchase.

Owners of the German vehicles also prove to be overall eco-conscious in everyday shopping. With 56% of Audi drivers claiming to shop in refill stores to reduce waste packaging.

5. Land Rover Drivers

Much like Lexus drivers, Land Rover owners are devoted recyclers, with 100% of them actively participating in recycling efforts at home, helping them land in the fifth position of drivers with the best eco habits. Moreover, 95% of Land Rover drivers help reduce their environmental footprint by switching their washing machines to a more energy-efficient 30-degree cycle.

Drivers With The Worst Eco-habits

While some brand owners are excelling in adopting sustainable habits, others are slightly behind the curve...

Suzuki Drivers: Suzuki drivers, it seems, aren't too keen on recycling, with 74% of those who drive the Japanese brand showing a reluctance to recycle regularly at home, highlighting a missed opportunity to reduce waste and conserve resources. Likewise, at 29%, they are one of the motorists least likely to avoid eating meat for sustainable reasons.

Seat Drivers: we all love a hot drink while out and about, disposable cups should be avoided to reduce the ever-growing issue of single-use plastic waste. Seat drivers, however, seem less than keen on the matter, with 43% confirming they are the least likely drivers to use their own cup for hot drinks.

Toyota Drivers: A clingfilm conundrum places Toyota owners among the worst eco offenders, as they stand out as the least likely to use Tupperware or reusable wraps, often opting for clingfilm or foil, which can contribute to plastic waste.

Vauxhall Drivers: Much like Seat drivers, Vauxhall owners suffer from cup dependency. With 41% of Vauxhall drivers not using their own cups for hot drinks, there is a missed an opportunity to reduce disposable cup waste and promote sustainability.

Peugeot Drivers: Our research found that 1 in 3 (36%) of Peugeot drivers are least likely to buy food with fewer air miles.

Recyclable Car Snacks 

Recyclable coffee cup

As we grab our favourite snacks to accompany us on the road, we seldom pause to consider the environmental impact of our choices. In fact, over half of drivers (57%) are unaware that snack food packaging cannot be recycled at home. This lack of awareness sheds light on the dark side of our beloved car snacks - many of them are packaged in materials that are notoriously difficult to recycle. Most crisp bags, for instance, are made from a combination of plastic and foil, rendering them non-recyclable through standard household recycling programs. Similarly, the wrappers of chocolate bars and sweets are typically made from mixed materials that cannot be easily separated for recycling.

The survey's findings are eye-opening. Only 1 in 3 drivers (34%) claim to recycle their snack food packaging, highlighting a major gap in sustainable consumption habits. Additionally, 83% of drivers admit to buying snacks for their car journeys that are encased in packaging unsuitable for home recycling.

So, what can we do to address this issue? For starters, there's plenty of snacking treats with nicely recyclable packaging that you can pack for car journeys:

  • Fruits like apples or bananas. These typically don't require packaging and generate minimal waste.
  • Whole-grain crackers or granola bars that are packaged in recyclable cardboard boxes.
  • Buy nuts, dried fruits, or trail mix in bulk, then use your own reusable containers.
  • Yogurt parfaits or overnight oats in reusable glass jars.

With 58% of drivers admitting to not bringing their own snacks or drinks from home on car journeys, something as simple as bringing a snack from home just in case you're hungry can help collectively reduce the environmental toll of our on-the-go snacking habits. Not to mention it's far more convenient to reach into that delicious snack box you brought from home than having to take a detour to curb your hangry instincts.

Eco-Friendly Driving Tips

Road in hills loading=

Driving with minimal eco impact is an essential practice to reduce your carbon footprint and help preserve the environment, and while opting to purchase or lease an electric car would be the top solution, there's plenty of other actions you can take to start driving greener today.

With 42% of people admitting to driving slower to use less fuel, our own Auto Trader experts have shared some top tips for eco-friendly driving:

  1. Maintain a Consistent Speed

    Use cruise control on highways to maintain a steady speed. This can improve fuel efficiency by reducing the need for constant acceleration and deceleration. Gradual acceleration and braking help conserve fuel and reduce wear and tear on your vehicle.
  2. Check Tyre Pressure

    Keep your tyres properly inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure. Under-inflated tyres can decrease fuel efficiency and increase emissions.
  3. Lighten Your Load

    Remove unnecessary items from your car. Extra weight can reduce fuel efficiency, so only carry what you need for your journey.
  4. Limit Idling Idling consumes fuel and produces unnecessary emissions.

    Turn off your engine if you expect to be stationary for more than a minute. Modern engines are designed to handle frequent starts, hence why restarting your engine after a brief stop is more fuel-efficient than idling for an extended period.

Most Common Eco-Home Measures

As we delve into the eco-habits of UK drivers, it's equally vital to shine a spotlight on the eco-conscious choices made within the walls of our homes.

Eco-Habit % of Respondents Who Always, or Regularly Do This
#1 People own and use energy efficient lightbulbs 76%
#2 People have loft insulation in their homes 67%
#3 People have wall insulation in their homes 55%
#4 People own and use a waterbutt 45%
#5 People own and use a compost heap 40%
#6 People own and use solar panels 29%
#7 People use a green energy supplier 26%
#8 People say they own or have the intention of installing an air source heat pump 21%

Energy efficient bulbs light the way

Our research reveals that a staggering 76% of respondents have adopted the use of energy-efficient lightbulbs in their homes. This simple yet impactful change not only reduces electricity consumption but also demonstrates a widespread commitment to energy conservation.

Loft and wall insulation come in at second and third place, with 67% and 55% of homeowners, respectively, having invested in these energy-saving measures. These home improvements cut heating and healing costs by keeping homes warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Nearly half of respondents (45%) have embraced water conservation by owning and using a water butt, which collects rainwater for various garden uses. While solar panels (29%) and the use of green energy suppliers (26%) are slightly less common practices, they represent a significant step towards reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

Overall, from energy-efficient lighting to advanced technologies like air source heat pumps, people are increasingly recognising the importance of sustainable living, and the widespread adoption of eco-conscious habits at home serve as a testament to the growing shift towards greener, more environmentally responsible living spaces.


Using Censuswide, we surveyed 1,296 drivers aged 18+ about their eco-habits, the car(s) they drive and their understanding of the recycling requirements of the packaging commonly used for car snack foods and drinks. Survey results true as of November 2023.