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British drivers most fuel-efficient

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Drivers in Britain are the most fuel-efficient compared to their counterparts in Europe's top motoring countries, a survey has suggested.

Research by Fiat showed that motorists in Britain drive at around 62% of possible fuel efficiency, ahead of drivers in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

With Britons being fuel-efficient and spending less as a result, there is a better reason to channel costs towards more basic motor necessities, such as car insurance.

The continent-wide poll of more than 5,000 drivers and half a million European car trips, also found that the British are best at gear changing, adding that the British driving style is based on "exceptionally smooth and thoughtful handling of gears".

According to the survey, German motorists accelerate too forcefully but once they reach that point, they maintain speed properly.

French motorists brake gently but are not very good at proper gear handling. However, they easily take on fuel-saving, gear-change techniques.

Italians face most difficulty maintaining average speeds and slowing down steadily, and although the Spanish feature last on the five-nation eco driving list, they are the best at picking up new driving techniques, according to the poll.

The survey also found that the Germans have the best road system, with cars having to stop due to congestion or traffic lights for an average of only six minutes per day.

The average time that cars have to stop per day in Britain and France is eight minutes, with the Italians stopped for nine minutes and the Spanish for 10 minutes.

Average traffic speeds in Germany, Britain and France are 21mph, while the figure for Italy and Spain is 19mph.

© Press Association 2010