Fuel gamble forces more Brits to use car breakdown cover

21 July 2008 / by Daniela Gieseler
Soaring fuel prices have led to an increase in motorists running their cars dry as more people drive with hardly any fuel, according to research by Britannia Rescue.

The average cost of filling a tank is now £50, up by £11.50 or nearly 30 per cent from last year. With the prices of all other commodities rising as well, for many Brits cutting down on petrol seems to be the easiest option to save some money.

Consequently, in the last quarter 340,000 drivers had to make use of their breakdown cover to be picked up on the roadside after running out of fuel, which is a 10 per cent increase up from this time last year.

Almost half (47 per cent) of all drivers acknowledged they were driving their cars with a minimum of fuel, and 20 per cent stated they could no longer afford to fill their tanks. With 37 and 26 per cent respectively, single parents and young professionals are struggling the most to keep their cars going.

Of the respondents, 59 per cent said they had let their fuel level go so low in the past three months that their warning light came on. A quarter admitted to driving their cars on hardly any fuel at least once a month, and nearly one in ten said the high fuel costs forced them to drive their cars nearly empty 'all the time'.

Only four per cent of all drivers are actually aware of how much fuel they need to run their vehicle, the average being 100 – 110 miles on a tank filled with £10 worth of fuel.

In order to save petrol, one in five try not to use the air conditioning in their cars any more, and 38 per cent said they were driving much slower.

Emma Holyer, spokesperson for Britannia Rescue, commented: "Increases in fuel prices are hitting drivers hard, especially against a background of rising food and housing costs."

"Whilst it is now more costly to fill up at the pumps running a car on empty can damage a car's fuel pump - requiring repairs that will make a full tank of £50 petrol seem like a bargain," Ms Holyer warned.

She continued: "Drivers who run their car on empty are also at high risk of breaking down. Not only is this extremely costly if you don't have breakdown cover and also very inconvenient, running out of fuel on the roads that don't have a hard shoulder can create major safety hazards for other drivers."

© Fair Investment Company Ltd