Fuel concerns could be mitigated by new technology

JonathanJune 28, 2012

Chancellor George Osborne recently announced that the planned 3p a litre rise in fuel duty due to be implemented in August will be postponed.

The chancellor stated that the decision will help to drive economic growth as many family budgets and business balance sheets remain tight.

However, the cost of petrol and diesel in the UK are a continual worry for motorists and many may see Mr Osborne’s decision as a stay of execution.

New research from British Car Auctions (BCA) – which was conducted over the last two months – has revealed that fuel anxieties are here to stay.

According to the statistics, over 60 per cent of British road users cited the cost of fuel as their biggest motoring concern.

Drivers have even begun to change how they use their cars in a bid to save money

“Our research shows that the cost of fuel remains the top priority for motorists, with many changing the way they drive to maximise their fuel efficiency,” said BCA spokesman Tim Naylor.

Figures from the firm show that 63 per cent of motorists have cut back on the frequency of car journeys in the past 12 months in the hope of saving money on expenses. Not surprisingly, many have opted to use alternative modes of transport with 45 per cent choosing to spend no money at all and walk more.

The second most popular alternative to a car journey was to take public transport, with 33 per cent of people taking this option.

However, this figure varied significantly on a regional basis, as in many parts of the UK transport systems cannot offer the flexibility needed by most people. In London, with its extensive underground system, 50 per cent of drivers switched to public transport.

South-east drivers were the second most likely to use public transport (34.5 per cent), followed by Midlands motorists at 29.1 per cent.

However, despite adopting money saving-measures, 65 per cent still fill up their tank when they go to the petrol station, showing the appetite for a car journey is still there.

“At BCA, we have seen increased demand for smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles, as UK households look to cut their motoring costs and consequently values have tended to rise for these more economical cars,” concluded Tim Naylor.

Instead of opting to walk in the rain or wait for public transport, motorists could choose to make use of a car leasing scheme.

This could lower their motoring costs in a number of ways.

Firstly, it will substantially reduce the upfront costs of purchasing a new vehicle. The deposit required for contract hire is far smaller than the list price for a new car.

But, perhaps more importantly to people who need to make regular car journeys, leasing can also ensure that drivers have access to the latest fuel-saving technology. Car manufacturers are aware that motorists are struggling while oil prices and fuel levies remain high and are developing increasingly clever ways of making cars more economical.

For example, the Citroen Ds4 Diesel Hatchback 1.6 HDi DStyle five-door model has a list price of £20,715, but is available on contract hire from £169.49 a month after a deposit of £1,016 is paid.

The company’s engineers have designed an engine which is capable of travelling at a combine cycle 60.1 mpg, but in urban environments this can increase to a more bank balance-friendly 70.6 mpg.

Even if the fuel duty is raised eventually, motorists will take some cheer at the fact that they are in one of the most efficient cars around.

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