Motorists Change Driving Patterns As Fuel Prices Rise

Motorists Change Driving Patterns As Fuel Prices Rise

Leading vehicle auction company, British Car Auctions (BCA) has released new data that suggests rising fuel cost is the most significant factor affecting the driving habits of UK motorists.

The data supports recent consumer surveys from the AA, Tesco and other commentators suggesting that high fuel prices have led to motorists covering fewer miles and reducing their spending power in the high street. 

BMRB researched the driving patterns of UK motorists on behalf of BCA for its Annual Used Car Market Report. 

The survey of 4,000 motorists found that fuel consumption was the top priority in their next car purchase, with 27% saying they would be looking for a vehicle with better fuel consumption next time round.  17% will also be looking for a vehicle with lower road tax.

The BCA research also asked drivers at what price point they would change their car or pattern of driving.

A quarter said that a fuel price of up to £1.40 per litre would force them to change their pattern of driving, reinforcing the findings of the AA research.  A further 10% said it would take a price rise of up to £1.50 per litre to change their pattern of driving.

It’s probably not surprising, therefore, that when asked what policies they would change or introduce if they were in charge of the country’s transport and motoring strategy, the most popular option was to reduce fuel duty (39%).  More than 1 in 5 (22%) said they would tackle the national fuel price.

The BCA research also shows that overall, 5% fewer families (72%) have at least one car, compared to 2010, with the biggest drop being seen in the number of two-car households.

"What this data suggests is that households have been making some hard decisions about what vehicles they need to stay mobile", explained Tony Gannon, Communications Director, BCA. 

"With a drop in two-car families, this means the remaining car will have to ‘work’ that much harder. We are likely to see households keeping cars for longer and not changing them until mileages are much higher."

The BCA report also suggests that families will be looking for smaller, more practical and economic vehicles as household budgets get squeezed.  Petrol power remains preferable for most buyers when considering their next car.

"Our research shows that motorists have several measures in mind to curtail their frontline motoring costs", continued Tony Gannon. 

"Top of the list is buying a car with better fuel consumption - at 27%.  But demand for these types of vehicles could well outstrip supply, pushing up prices as a consequence."

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