/ Money, Motoring

Will rising fuel prices stop you driving?

Business man cycling to work

Two fuel price rises in under a week mean that motorists are having to tighten their purse strings. But the RAC Foundation reckons the increase could put people off driving altogether. Will you scrap your car this year?

The official line from the RAC Foundation’s director, Stephen Glaister, was:

‘If the nation’s 34 million motorists are pushed too far they will drive less and the Treasury could actually see their tax take fall.’

So have the latest petrol price rises affected how often you drive? Past increases have shown that it can actually have a massive effect.

A quarter stop using the car for school runs

When fuel prices were at their highest in the summer of 2008, a survey commissioned by The Times found that a quarter of parents stopped using the car for the school run. And a total of 29% motorists said they stopped making out-of-town trips to go shopping.

Will we see a repeat of this with the latest hikes in petrol and diesel costs? I think so. I’ve already noticed that the roads have been quieter in the last few days, though that could of course be due to extended winter holidays.

But what about those who can’t afford not to drive? Personally, I need to make a daily 20 mile round trip to my nearest train station for my commute to work. I leave at a time when there are no busses and a taxi would prove too expensive. Plus, I’d collapse on my desk from exhaustion if I had to ride a bicycle to and from the station. So I grin and bare the cost of running my car.

Is there really a ‘war on motorists’?

Many were angered by local government secretary Eric Pickles’ comments this week. He talked about ‘an end to the war on motorists’ when announcing eased parking charges and restrictions in new housing developments.

I don’t think he was taking into account the fact that motorists were reeling from predicted fuel price increases in the region of 3.5p a litre that were about to hit them.

In all honesty, I don’t think there is a war on motorists, I think there’s a war on travel as a whole. As we know, train fares have soared this month, with some travelcard prices increasing in the region of 15%.

I opted to park at Peterborough train station yesterday instead of my local station, and it cost £13 for five to 24 hours! I was half expecting the car to have had a full wash and valet.

So for me, the answer to my initial question is no. I will continue to drive and travel everyday as normal, in spite of the rising prices. However, I do query whether we’re expected to move closer to work with the cost of travel being as it is.

Will rising fuel prices stop you from driving?

No, I rely on my car (76%, 646 Votes)

Yes, I'll find other ways to get around (18%, 150 Votes)

I don't drive anyway (7%, 56 Votes)

Total Voters: 852

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Stewart says:
10 January 2011

I think a useful 4th option would have been “will you alter your driving patterns as a result of fuel price increases”. I wont stop driving (as the first option shows) but I will probably think twice about using the car for every little journey – using either my feet or public transport as an alternative – it’s less about can I afford it and more as a protest against feeling ripped off.

That’s certainly true. We won’t retroactively add that option now as it’d skew the results, but hopefully people will share their thoughts on whether they’ll change their driving patterns due to these fuel cost rises.

I can’t change my driving patterns – they are at a minimum already – daily to and from work – there is no public transport.- Once a month I stop off on the way home to buy specialities –

Once a week I drive to the shopping mall for the entire week’s shopping – this would not fit on a bus (no tube).

I no longer go out at night or the weekend.- can’t afford it.

My circumstances have changed in the last two years and I have also changed how and when I use the car. I have more time but less money. I walk much more, plan any journeys so they are multipurpose, and find myself mentally justifying any use of the car. I hope to move soon and will serious consider giving up the car completely. I would use home delivery services for food and other items, and travel by train or hire a car for longer journeys. I will work out the cost of all this compared with running my own car before deciding whether to purchase another car (my current one needs replacing).

However this would not be possible when I was working. For the last 50 plus years society has encouraged personal mobility and it will be very difficult to go back to everyone working and shopping within a short distance of where they live.

No I won’t stop driving as I am disabled, my Elgrand allows me to have a holiday as my van is converted to a campervan, so why should I, footballers, so called goverment,bankers etc,rich folk,Will be the only ones on the roads who gives them the right in a so called Democrocy(what a laugh)

5 series BMW lover says:
14 January 2011

So many people seem to be annoyed by having to drive.

It’s definitely true that driving is essential, so why can’t people change their circumstances so they can enjoy driving?

Just get a better car, ignore its fuel consumption, look forward to driving it, enjoy it every mile you travel in it and stop complaining.

It’s time to stop spending taxpayer’s money on road and rail public transport used only by a tiny minority. Use the money to improve the roads and subsidise fuel as used by the vast majority.

Raymond Broad says:
14 January 2011

Where are all the farmers and hauliers who were protesting when fuel was under a pound a litre or is this not affecting them now or is it because the political landscape has changed in their favour and do not wish to upset the condems? Come on grow a spine and get back out there I think you may get more support this time because you will be protesting about rises being brought in while an unpopular government is in power.

BobP says:
25 January 2011

As now one of the wrinkly brigade & being a driver all my life I do not want to stop my little bit of enjoyment that working all my life has got for me , also by putting away money for retirement & going without all those years it will take a lot more being put on to fuel prices to stop us from using a car , living Cornwall where a vehicle is a necessity as it is for many other people , also giving the freedom of coming & going where one wants plus caravanning on our holidays it is something I do not intend giving up easily . Right or wrong I could not care less about our carbon foot print when every one else travels around the world by plane ect , it is all a lot of rubbish as please tell me who melted the mile thick ice field that covered the British Isles in the first place , Man did not do it with a carbon foot print for sure !!!! . Think on this WHO GETS THE MOST MONEY FROM FUEL TAX & WHERE WILL THEY GET MONEY FROM WHEN WE ARE ALL PRICED OUT OF THE MARKET , No vehicles on the roads means no road tax , No fuel tax , Nothing from Insurance premium tax . Just a thought .

pha2000 says:
4 February 2011

Today 5 January 2011 Tesco petrol station Milton Cambridge are instructed not to give any information about fuel prices over the telephone. Is this absurd or is this absurd? Sainsbury and Shell do tell you. I need to refuel when in Cambridge tomorrow but shall not shop at Tesco!.

Well, most of you have said you wouldn’t give up your car, but new stats from moneysupermarket.com has found that half of UK drivers would consider a more fuel-efficient model when they next buy a car due to these petrol price rises. Would you?

I was hoping that the rise in prices would result in fewer cars on the road but it just seems to make Lard Rovers and Mini buses (transits wi carpets) drive much slower. My car’s economy isn’t much good in third or second plus coking up my injectors don’t help. It hasn’t got the idiots off the road either, the seventeen year olds are still burning up the road. Hope they don’t hit me!

The UK needs to promote growth to pay for the results of the banking crisis?
Does having the second highest diesel prices in Europe help this country to compete?
Diesel moves all bulk goods in this country, increase this cost will raise the price of just about everything.
I know that world demand will increase the price of crude oil, but why are our fuel prices the second highest in Europe?
We also have the extra expense of exporting across the channel.
In France diesel is 10p cheaper than petrol, how are British haulers to survive?
It would be fair if our fuel prices reflected the French and German prices

In scientific terms, diesel produces about 40 megajoules of energy per litre, as opposed to about 35 for petrol.
Diesel engines generate 10-20% lower CO2 emissions per mile than an equivalent petrol engine.
In addition, diesel is cheaper to make and easier to store, being less prone to evaporation.

Carol says:
2 March 2011

I have owned two Toyota Prius cars and these vehicles were both economical to drive. They have automatic transmission and the car chooses the fuel type dependant on the battery power. They don’t have to be plugged in anywhere the petrol engine charges the batteries as you drive. I would recommed this car for fuel economy and comfort etc.
When it was time to trade up to a new model, I was dissapointed that the level of road noise had increased, this is an issue for me so I am now looking for a Hybrid with low road noise levels.

Sorry should explain The noise level is tyres issue not engine.

AndyD says:
6 March 2011

There is trouble in Lybia, the government have wasted no time in stating there will be further rises in fuel duty. Correct me if I am wrong but when has duty been effected by how easy or difficult it is to get a product, surely this is down to the fuel companies to raise the price, not the government. Yet again they are using any excuse to take more money from the tax payer. Can they not see the long term damage they are causing to the country and its residents in order to make short term gains.

Aloe Vera says:
17 July 2012

Thanks for the auspicious writeup. It in reality was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more delivered agreeable from you! However, how can we keep up a correspondence?

Come on time for a fuel blockade just like 1999/2000.
This is a joke. Oil at record lows for 6 month s. Tell fuel companies to drop prices by 10pence or hammer them with a 100% tax levy. On everything how can people go back to work when they can’t afford to fill up. Borris do your job.