Transport minister learns from eco driving lesson

Transport minister John Hayes improved his overall fuel economy by 12% with some eco driving tips.

Transport minister John Hayes improved his overall fuel economy by 12% with some eco driving tips. - Credit: supplied

The organisers of the MPG Marathon challenged transport minister John Hayes to see if he could become as efficient as the country's most accomplished eco-drivers taking part in the UK's premier eco-driving challenge.

After a lesson from one of the Energy Saving Trust's expert driver trainers in a MPG Marathon Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, Mr Hayes managed to improve his overall fuel economy by 12%, proving that with a few useful tips and small changes to driving style it is possible to make impressive savings on fuel use.

Mr Hayes said 'I think it is essential to encourage businesses and the public people to realise that they can save a lot of money by driver training, and get the beneficial effects on emissions, comfort and safety too.

'From this training, I've discovered first hand it really is possible to make dramatic changes in fuel economy with the adoption of some relatively simple practices. Anticipating the road ahead, driving smoothly and using the natural momentum of the car, rather than accelerating and braking harshly are essential to driving more economically.

'Promotion of this is important, and the government is very keen to push harder on this. Training is essential. We're offering 9,000 subsidised lessons a year, and have worked with more than 800 small businesses over the last three years through the Energy Saving Trust's Ecodriving training scheme. This has directly resulted in drivers saving money for themselves and for their businesses.'

Under the Energy Saving Trust's Ecodriving scheme, subsidised training of £25 per person up to a maximum of eight drivers trained per day is available for organisations directly from the approved training companies and independent trainers.

Steve Moody, publisher at business driving publication Fleet World which organises the MPG Marathon, said: 'Mr Hayes has demonstrated that no matter how good a driver you are, there's always room for improvement, and using trainers can reap huge dividends.

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'If every driver could achieve a 12% improvement in fuel economy, as Mr Hayes managed, it would equate to hundreds of pounds saved a year. For a business, extrapolated across all its drivers, that could mean thousands of pounds saved, while the improvements in technique training brings should result in safer driving, lower emissions, better air quality for all, and less wear and tear on the vehicle.'

Tim Anderson, senior knowledge manager (transport) at the Energy Saving Trust, said: 'The trust has promoted fuel-efficient driving for the past decade and, in that time, has provided training to over 50,000 individual drivers across more than 500 organisations.

'The MPG Marathon exemplifies what is possible through eco driving techniques and what role the driver has in achieving the best fuel economy possible from the vehicle.'

To find out more about the EST driver training visit or to find out more about the MPG Marathon log on to