Petrol prices remain a contentious issue in the UK, with a nation of motorists becoming increasingly disturbed as fuel prices continue to rise. In fact, since the end of August, petrol prices have risen by 5 pence per litre while diesel costs have climbed by 4.5 pence per litre. This makes the UK one of the most expensive countries in Europe for fuel – a fact which is having a huge effect upon the lives of British motorists.
A recent study by Moneysupermarket.com delved into the lives of UK drivers in order to determine what sacrifices they have made in their day to day lives simply to keep their cars on the road. For many, it seems that cutting down on small luxuries is the new norm in a country battling its way out of a double dip recession.
Almost three quarters of participants admitted to cutting down on spending simply so they could put fuel in their car, with a third claiming that they “cannot live” without access to their vehicle. Additionally, more than a third of those surveyed have cut down on clothes shopping and are spending less when visiting their local public houses in a bid to save money.
Furthermore, 28 per cent of participants have cut down on the amount of alcohol and cigarettes they purchase on a monthly basis, while 26 per cent admit to foregoing foreign holidays or mini breaks in the UK simply because they must choose between filling their car and indulging in luxuries.
Car insurance expert at Moneysupermarket.com, Pete Harrison, said; “The cost of motoring is an increasingly hot topic, and with the price of fuel recently hitting record highs, it continues to put additional pressures on household finances.
“It is no surprise whatsoever that Brits are making cutbacks to keep their cars on the road – many drivers, especially in rural areas, depend heavily on their cars on a daily basis to get them from A to B, and if the cost of motoring continues to rise as we have seen previously, these cutbacks may become a very significant reality.”
Fortunately for out of pocket motorists, there is some good news. Last week, Moneysupermarket.com released research showing that the average car insurance premium has dropped significantly this year, after two years of sharp inflation in 2010 and 2011. The average premium currently totals £478 per year, down 10.6 per cent from last year when the average amounted £554 per year.
The Office of Fair Trading will soon be stepping in to investigate several aspects of the motoring industry in an attempt to appease British motorists.
Firstly, they intend to examine car insurance companies who sell customer details on to claims management firms – this, as well as being a breach of data protection laws in many cases, also bumps up the cost of repairs and premiums for motorists across the board.
Additionally, an investigation is currently underway to ensure that motorists benefit from fluctuations in the wholesale price of crude oil. Many filling stations have been accused of continuing to sell petrol and diesel at a higher price when the cost of oil drops, leading to higher profit margins for them while the budget of motorists is dealt a further blow.
Do you think that fuel prices should be lowered in times of economic trouble, especially for drivers who live in rural areas and cannot depend on public transport to commute to their workplace? Have you made any sacrifices in your day to day life to make sure you can afford to fill up your car, or do you think that motorists struggle to budget for their fuel simply because everything is becoming more expensive as a result of high nationwide inflation?
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