One in four motorists have struggled to afford the cost of driving in the past month, according to comparethemarket.com.
The research, based on a national poll of 2,000 motorists, found one in three drivers (33%) is worried that they won’t be able to cover the cost of driving in the coming weeks.
Driving has become increasingly unaffordable, as 84% of motorists have spent more on fuel in the past six months, and 29% have spent more on car insurance. As a result, almost one in three drivers (32%) has struggled to pay for fuel, and one in ten (11%) has found it difficult to cover the cost of car insurance.
Separate research from comparethemarket.com shows that the average annual cost of driving a petrol-fuelled car has risen by £313 year-on-year in the first three months of 2022 to £1,843. This sharp rise in running costs has mainly been driven by increases in the price of petrol, as well as car insurance premiums. The average annual petrol cost is now £943 – a £221 increase compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, the typical car insurance premium for a petrol-fuelled car has risen by £82 year-on-year, due to a rise in the value of second-hand cars and replacement part inflation.
Following the increase in the cost of running a car, six in ten (60%) motorists believe driving has become too expensive for most people to afford, and more than eight in ten drivers (84%) are now concerned about higher petrol and diesel prices. 40% of drivers say they don’t earn enough to cover the higher costs, and this figure increases to 55% for those aged between 25 and 34. In addition, nearly one in three motorists (31%) expect they will need to take on additional debt to afford to keep driving, and 18% have been forced to ask family or friends for financial support to run their car.
The increasing cost of driving is not only harming people’s finances but also their careers, as almost one in four drivers (24%) has said higher car running costs have meant their job has suffered. People’s social lives are another aspect that has been impacted, with 38% of drivers saying their social life has deteriorated. This figure rises to 52% for those aged between 25 and 34. Four in ten motorists (42%) have also visited their family less, due to the cost of driving.
To help mitigate rising driving costs, 49% of motorists are making fewer journeys, and 31% are using less fuel. Almost one in three (29%) are walking or cycling more, and 25% are cutting back elsewhere to afford fuel. Drivers could also save an average of £118 by shopping around for a cheaper deal on their car insurance when their policy ends.
|Diesel prices are at a record high says the RAC.
RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p. Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel. While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.
“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank. As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.
“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”
Alex Hasty, director at comparethemarket.com, said, “As the cost of driving increases, it is becoming difficult for many drivers to stay on the road. Lots of people who do not live in a major city rely on their cars to get around.
“However, the high fuel costs are now forcing drivers to make fewer journeys, and some are needing to cut back on seeing friends and family. It is concerning that a number of people expect to go into debt to keep driving.
“There are a few ways motorists could save money to help offset the higher costs. Driving smoothly and removing heavy items from your car can help your vehicle use less fuel. Making sure your tyres are at the correct pressure not only improves the safety of your car, but it can also cut petrol costs, as well as help your tyres last longer.
“Motorists could also save more than £100 by switching to a cheaper insurance policy ahead of their renewal. With Compare the Market, customers can set up automated car insurance renewal quotes and be notified automatically, which could help find them great deals and save them money.”