Petrol prices ‘pushing drivers off the road’

The cost of rising fuel prices is such it may push many drivers off the road, a new survey has found.

The costs of filling up at the petrol station has been one of the many money management issues drivers have had to wrestle with in the past year as the cost of living has risen.

Apart from the VAT hike at the start of last year – partly offset by a subsequent cut in fuel duty and cancellation of further increases planned in the fuel duty escalator – the rising world oil price has seen the expense increase and for many householders trying to juggle this with other rising costs, the strain has been considerable.

A survey by Hastings Direct has investigated how consumers are seeking to cope. It has found that the answer for many is not very well. One in five motorists have said that if matters continue to worsen to the point where petrol hits £2 a litre, they will give up driving.

While that may be an extreme reaction, 78 per cent of motorists have taken some action to change their driving habits in the last year because of the growing cost.

This has seen 74 per cent use the car less and 49 per cent have reduced their driving by at least 25 miles a week.

And one-in-three have said they are considering making sure their next car is a hybrid or electric vehicle.

Another measure motorists might consider is using a prepaid credit card to cut down other living costs, in order to free up more cash to keep the car on the road.

These cards work be restricting the amount that can be spent on them at any given time to what has been loaded up online at the last visit, so those keeping a tight budget can ensure they only permit themselves to spend as much as they can afford.

And for those paying for fuel by card, it may help them resist the temptation to spend unnecessarily on some of the goodies on sale at garage forecourts.

Fuel prices are not the only problem facing motorists, with the AA recently revealing the cost of the average car insurance policy rose by 15 per cent last year. But with a prepaid card helping to keep budgets tight, the multiple issues facing drivers and their wallets may be eased at least a little.

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