Car insurance and petrol costs push drivers off the road

17 April 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
The rising cost of car insurance and petrol is pushing drivers off the roads, new research from MoneyExpert.com has found.

According to the study, a quarter of all UK motorists admit to using their cars less as a result of the increasing costs of running it.

More than three quarters of respondents said that rapidly rising petrol prices was the reason for them driving less, whereas eight per cent of people questioned said that higher insurance premiums and maintenance costs had put them off.

Unleaded fuel now costs, on average, £107.5p per litre, but regional variations mean that some motorists could find themselves shelling out as much as £118.9 p per litre. In addition to steep petrol costs, the average comprehensive car insurance premium has risen to £629.04.

MoneyExpert.com's Sean Gardner, said: "Many people are finding their finances are being squeezed to the limit, and when that limit breaks something has to give. For some that means leaving the car in the drive and taking the bus or bicycle to work because driving has simply become to expensive.

"Petrol costs are high but the single biggest outlay a driver has to account for is their insurance premium. And as it's illegal to drive without it the only way to minimise the damage is to shop 'til you drop and get the best possible car insurance deal you can find."

As the credit crisis takes hold, it is the non-essential and expensive items such as cars that are being cut back on to make ends meet at the end of each month. As petrol and car insurance prices rise, cars are becoming out of reach for many motorists and impending tax rises and fuel duties do nothing to give people confidence in the future of affordable motors.

The credit crisis has also had an affect on new car sales; according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), most leading car manufacturers experienced a drop in sales for the first quarter of 2008.

The ACEA's report blamed the credit crisis, stating: "In a context of economic uncertainty generated by the US financial crisis car sales in Western Europe were affected most by the decline." Europe's biggest car sales market, Germany, experienced a drop of 14 per cent in new car sales, an indication of how the credit crisis is affecting the world of motoring.

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