The rising cost of petrol has already had an impact on both Brits' preferences when choosing a new car and how they are using it, separate studies from AA Insurance and RIAS have revealed.
RIAS found that economics has overtaken aesthetics as the top priority when buying a new car, with 32 per cent of over 50s choosing their car on how many miles per gallon it does and how much they can save when filling their tank.
According to the AA, the high petrol prices have also sparked a move towards car sharing, and have had a bigger impact than years of campaigning for car sharing based on environmental motives.
Almost half (47 per cent) of the 2,000 Brits surveyed by the AA
are now considering car sharing, although only one in 10 are currently doing so more than once a week.
The cost of petrol is the main reason for this change, with 51 per cent of respondents saying it had moved them to consider car sharing, and 60 per cent of the 5.5 million Britons who already share a car admitting that their primary reason is to save money on petrol costs.
More than half said social occasions such as going out to the pub were the main incentive to share a car, while 34 per cent share a car driving to and from work or for long journeys (32 per cent).
Edmund King, president of the AA said: "Car sharing is something that we really believe in – not only is it a good way to reduce emissions and congestion on the road, but can also save on motoring costs.
He recommended: "However, to make sure that car sharing is a safe and pleasant experience, drivers should check their insurance policy as well as be mindful of the social etiquette around sharing especially if they do not know the other sharer very well."
The AA's findings show that 73 per cent of all car sharers did not check their car insurance
beforehand, which could be a mistake because it could be classed as business travel which may need extra insurance.
Ian Crowder, of AA Insurance, said: "We found that 14 per cent of people car share to get to business meetings. If this is the case, you may not be covered on your current policy and need to upgrade to 'occasional business use'.
Whatever the circumstances, it's really important that people check their insurance before they car share."
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