Around four in 10 UK motorists say they’ll be “forced to cut other spending” as a result of rising fuel prices, according to the RAC. The motoring organisation’s survey of almost 2,500 British drivers found 46 percent of respondents said they would have to watch the pennies as the cost of petrol and diesel continues to rocket.

The RAC’s Fuel Watch initiative, which tracks fuel prices around the country, says both petrol and diesel prices have hit record levels. The motoring organisation says the average price of petrol is now more than £1.46 per litre, while diesel now costs more than £1.50 per litre on average.

And the RAC research found these high prices have caused a third (33 percent) of those quizzed to drive less, while a further 25 percent said they would be forced to reduce their car use if price hikes continue. And while 17 percent said they could get about using other means, including walking or cycling, 44 percent said they would simply have to suffer the higher fuel prices.

Woman refuelling with nozzle at petrol station

One in four respondents said the cost of driving now accounts for a “large” proportion of their monthly spending, which goes some way to explaining why 69 percent of motorists said they wanted the government to intervene on fuel prices. A fuel duty cut would be particularly popular with drivers, 75 percent of whom would back such a move, while 51 percent would like to see a reduction in VAT on fuel.

However, the record prices may also influence drivers’ future buying habits. The RAC research found 34 percent of respondents would switch to an electric vehicle if they could afford it, while a fifth (19 percent) said they thought high fuel costs would encourage more people to go electric.

“These figures throw a light on the chilling impact the current record high petrol and diesel prices are having on drivers every time they fill up,” said RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams. “And there’s seemingly no end in sight – the price of unleaded is already up by more than 2p in November and this, combined with the fact domestic energy costs are also spiking, means households need to brace themselves for what could turn out to be a particularly expensive winter.

“The high oil price is the root cause of the costs motorists are suffering at the pumps, with a barrel having quadrupled in price since last spring as demand for fuel across the world returns to a more normal level after the worst of the pandemic.

“If the high prices are encouraging drivers to swap the car for walking or cycling on short trips that’s no bad thing, but the simple fact remains that the car is a lifeline for many people and remains the only feasible way for them to complete so many of the journeys they need to make. We fear that rocketing prices risk storing up all kinds of problems for drivers as we go into the winter.”

Winter snow driving on a country road in North Yorkshire UK