When asked what our number one ‘pet peeve’ is about driving, I think most of us would answer ‘the cost’. The RAC has just released its annual motoring report and confirmed after 25 years of driving; our main concern is the ever increasing costs.
Our dependency on cars is at an all-time high, with the number of cars on the road currently at 35.2 million, but does the cost of running a car affect the way we use it?
Fuel prices are based on supply and demand factors and as such the cost of fuel fluctuates daily. In the past three years alone the ‘price of petrol has risen 16% and the price of diesel 19%’. According the RACs report this is ‘having an adverse effect on 77% of drivers who say they are struggling to make ends meet.’
The report findings state that it is those living in rural areas who are ‘hit the hardest’ with 38% stating that this is their ‘most pressing fear’. Set against 28% who live in city areas; this may be due to the increased need to travel for people living in rural areas.
Since the RAC conducted its first annual report in 1989 the fuel prices have increased a shocking 264%. At this time (1989) petrol was 38.5p per litre and diesel 36.1 per litre, it is now 134.2p a litre for petrol and 138.9p for diesel.
Fourth on the list of drivers worries for 2013 is the cost of insurance, with ‘a third (35%) apprehensive about the rising cost of premiums.’
Insurance is mostly a concern for younger drivers with 20% of 17 to 24 years olds finding the cost of insuring their vehicle is actually prohibiting them from driving. There has been added controversy to ‘young persons’ car insurance, as last year the EU Gender Directive stated that the prices charged by insurance companies could not be determined by gender. This pushed up the premiums for many young women drivers, who are seen as a lower risk than males.
Location also plays a part in insurance costs with city dwellers having to pay a higher premium than most country counter parts.
The RACs 2013 found that 19% of drivers don’t understand the ‘different elements that make up motoring taxation’.
Following this confusion, drivers don’t believe that the taxes raised via motoring taxation are put to use sufficiently, i.e. improving local roads. This has raised the issue of how road taxes should be raised, with almost a third of drivers (31%) supporting the raising of road funds through more toll roads.
‘Three quarters would prefer to pay less fuel tax and half would like to pay lower levels of car tax.’ Drivers are also in favour of drivers of vehicles omitting more pollution paying high tax and 29% support motor way toll fees and 33% support charges to enter city centres in a vehicle.
This is showing that motorist would like to pay taxes in areas where they have more control; whether they choose to drive a larger vehicle or enter the city centre.
What are the Government doing to combat the rising cost of driving?
Following pressure from the RAC and FairFuelUK the Government has frozen fuel duty prices (for now). The Government is also looking at plans to make the cost of fuel at motorway service stations more transparent, by having to display their prices to customers before they enter the forecourt.
Other methods of reducing the cost of driving (by the Government) is the reduced tax on ‘green cars’, rewarding drivers for choosing more economically friendly vehicles.
Schemes, such as ‘pass plus’, have been introduced to assist ‘learner drivers’ with the cost of insurance premiums.
What are drivers doing to combat the costs?
Many drivers are now choosing public transport over their own vehicle, it can be much more cost efficient and with improved public transport and ‘private lanes’ it is often a less stressful way to commute.
With online comparison sites for petrol stations and insurance companies, drivers are now becoming much savvier with the cost of driving.
Many businesses are choosing to open up fuel card accounts, like Tankkart.be, helping to avoid the constant fluctuation of fuel prices.
To see a full copy of the RAC Report on Motoring 2013 click here.