One in three UK motorists struggled with the cost of driving in the past month, according to new research published this month. A study of 2,000 drivers by price comparison site CompareTheMarket.com found 40 percent of those quizzed fear they will have to stop driving if costs continue to rise.
Overall, the company’s survey found 35 percent of drivers have struggled to meet the cost of driving in the past month, with eight in 10 (83 percent) spending more on fuel in the past six months. As a result, more than half (54 percent) of respondents said they were concerned they would not be able to afford fuel in the next three months.
Similarly, 40 percent say they have spent more on insurance, leading a quarter (25 percent) worried they will be unable to pay for their insurance in future.
For the vast majority, though, it’s the wider cost-of-living crisis that’s causing pressure on finances. Almost nine in 10 respondents (88 percent) said other household bills were causing concern about the cost of motoring. More than three quarters (76 percent) of those questioned said energy bills were a worry, while 59 percent cited food bills.
CompareTheMarket.com's data also showed households worried about the rising cost of living think they will need an extra £224 per month on average to cover their upcoming bills. The knock-on effect is that a massive nine in ten drivers (90 percent) are concerned about petrol and diesel prices. By the same token, four in ten motorists (42 percent) think they will need to take on additional debt to keep driving, while 11 percent have had to ask family or friends for financial support in order to run their car.
And it isn’t just drivers’ ability to stay on the road that is suffering. Three in 10 respondents (30 percent) said their social life has deteriorated as a result of high vehicle running costs, while 53 percent are making fewer journeys to save money. More than a third (35 percent) said they were buying less fuel than before, while a similar proportion (33 percent) are walking or cycling more.
“The cost of petrol is still considerably more expensive than last year, and other household bills have surged even higher in recent weeks,” said Julie Daniels, director of CompareTheMarket.com. “As a result, many drivers are finding it difficult to afford staying on the road and are being forced to make fewer journeys or cut back on seeing friends and family. Worryingly, some are going deeper into debt to keep driving.
“Understandably motorists will be keen to make savings wherever possible to reduce driving costs. Driving smoothly and removing heavy items uses less fuel. Making sure your tyres are at the correct pressure can cut petrol costs and improves how your car brakes, how it takes corners, and how long your tyres last. Drivers could also save hundreds of pounds by comparing prices online for their car insurance and switching to a cheaper deal when their policy is up for renewal.”