Saturday, 6 August 2011

Soaring Fuel Prices Cut Numbers Behind the Wheel

By Ben Aulakh

Soaring fuel prices and the recession are forcing families with one car to cut the number of times they get behind the wheel, and how far they travel.

New figures from the Automobile Association show that households have cut the number of car journeys they make by 4.3 per cent, and their mileage by 1.8 per cent, compared to two years ago.

The National Travel Survey, published in mid-July showed that households with one car made 43 fewer trips and drove 119 fewer miles in 2010 than in 2008.

A 19.53p per litre rise in the cost of petrol and a 21.42p per litre rise in the cost of diesel in the last year is one major factor the AA cites for people cutting the number of car journeys made.

The AA’s president Edmund King said, “The Department for Energy and Climate Change figures revealed that one billion fewer litres of petrol were bought in the first quarter of this year compared to same period in 2008.

“Yet more official figures are now showing how badly recession and record fuel prices are taking away people’s mobility in the UK.”

“Piece by piece, a jigsaw of financial hardship and lost travel freedom is being revealed by official statistics.”

Fuel prices hit a record high in May this year at 137.43p for petrol and 143.04p for diesel; however both have continued to rise, in just the last week there was a half a penny rise in the cost of fuel to 136.40p a litre.

The transport survey’s figures also show that secondary have lost out even more than main drivers, making 4.9 per cent fewer car trips than they did in 2008.

The AA/Populus panel survey laid the corner piece in June with its revelation that the percentage of AA members cutting back on car use, other spending to compensate or both had risen from 63% at the turn of the year to 76% by mid-year.

Photograph from Billy Hicks

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