transportation, sustainability · 5/23/2023

Background music can impact driving speed, safety and climate-friendliness – Neste publishes curated playlists to lower drivers' heart beat

Neste Corporation, News, 23 May 2023

Following its campaign for more climate-friendly driving, Neste studied what kind of music Finns listen to while driving, and what they think is the best driving music. As high-tempo music has been shown to affect driving behavior, Neste created playlists for various routes in Finland that have a calming impact on the heart rate and promote road safety and a more climate-friendly driving style. Playlists were also created for a few driving routes abroad that are known by the Finns.

In the survey* carried out by Neste in April 2023, 82% of the women and 76% of the men who responded felt that listening to music while driving reduced stress caused by congestion and other traffic-related factors. Overall, the respondents (58%) felt that listening to music could help the driver relax. Listening to the right type of music in the car was said to help the driver relax, enjoy the experience, stay awake and avoid boredom. 74% of the respondents felt that listening to music was pleasant during longer trips in particular.

“According to our study, congestion and traffic jams cause irritation and increase the heart rate in 55% of drivers. We created customized playlists for drivers for frequently used and congested commuting routes to avoid speeding, maintain a relaxed atmosphere in the car and minimize emissions. The tempo of the songs in the playlists is below 90 beats per minute, which is ideal for keeping the heart rate appropriately calm behind the wheel. We hope that our playlists will also bring joy to the drivers, and we wish for safe travels during the summer driving season,” says Mika Hyötyläinen, Vice President, Marketing Communications at Neste.

For example in Finland, highways 4, 5 and 6 between Helsinki and Lahti, Kuopio and Jyväskylä and Kouvola and Lappeenranta now have their own curated playlists that aim to reduce the heart rate. For vacationers, playlists were created also for the Baltic countries, for the Via Baltica, and a few playlists for the United States, for example for the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

The radio is on in the car – pop music is the most popular genre  

In the survey, 61% of the respondents (regardless of age, place of residence, life situation and gender) said that listening to the radio on the road was the most popular way to consume music. Around a third of the respondents used streaming services at least occasionally while driving. 

Of the respondents, 43% felt that pop music was the best kind of music for driving, while 41% favored rock. Pop music was the most popular genre among people aged 45–54 and women, and rock was the chosen genre for more than 50% of people aged 18–24 and 35–54. Rock was the least popular genre among people over 65. 

“According to a study previously carried out by the South China University of Technology, people listening to songs with more than 120 beats per minute drove nearly 16 km/h faster on average. As part of Neste’s project, we conducted a test in which we measured the impact of songs with different tempos on the subjects’ heart rates. The songs played during the test increased the subjects’ heart rates by nearly 10% on average and up to more than 19% compared with the starting situation. The result supported the view that the music people listen to in the car has significance in terms of driving and a potential impact on road safety and emissions from transport, especially when the music is combined with a climate-friendly route selection and driving style. We have previously provided practical tips for more climate-friendly driving**, and our new CO2 Friendly Beat campaign aims at helping drivers reduce their driving speed with the help of music and thereby reduce emissions,” Mika Hyötyläinen says. 

*) The Neste survey was conducted as a nationwide consumer panel via IRO Research Oy’s Tuhat suomalaista (“One thousand Finns”) survey between 18 and 26 April 2023. A total of 1,000 Finnish consumers responded to the survey nationwide.
**) CO2 Friendly Route and CO2 Friendly Driving campaigns

Listen to our customized playlists that have a calming impact on the heart rate when driving here.  

Further information: Please contact Neste's media service, tel. +358 800 94025 / (weekdays from 8.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. EET). Please subscribe to Neste’s releases at

Neste in brief

Neste (NESTE, Nasdaq Helsinki) creates solutions for combating climate change and accelerating a shift to a circular economy. We refine waste, residues and innovative raw materials into renewable fuels and sustainable feedstock for plastics and other materials. We are the world’s leading producer of sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel and developing chemical recycling to combat the plastic waste challenge. We aim at helping customers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions with our renewable and circular solutions by at least 20 million tons annually by 2030. Our ambition is to make the Porvoo oil refinery in Finland the most sustainable refinery in Europe by 2030. We are introducing renewable and recycled raw materials such as liquefied waste plastic as refinery raw materials. We have committed to reaching carbon-neutral production by 2035, and we will reduce the carbon emission intensity of sold products by 50% by 2040. We also have set high standards for biodiversity, human rights and supply chain. We have consistently been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices and the Global 100 list of the world’s most sustainable companies. In 2022, Neste's revenue stood at EUR 25.7 billion. Read more: