Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Our Changing Habits

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Our Changing Habits

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID WILLIAMS

FINALLY, after months of economic gloom, there's good news. Last month it emerged that Britain officially shrugged off recession from July to September, helped in part by the Olympic Games. For many motorists it's been a tough few years, as they have battled not only a squeeze on household budgets but rising fuel costs and sky-high insurance premiums.

Now, new research for ES Wheels reveals that these rising costs have forced a widespread new approach to mobility. In-depth analysis by Enterprise Rent-A-Car reveals that almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of UK drivers say they have changed their motoring habits because of the recession and rising prices at the pumps, with 30 per cent saying they now only use their car for essential trips.

The poll also found that more than a third of households (35 per cent) have downsized to just one vehicle and only four per cent of households are planning to buy a second car, although a strengthening economic climate may change this. There's telling news for Londoners too. More than one in 10 people use public transport or cycle whenever they can, while a similar percentage say they have downsized to a smaller engine to save on insurance, fuel and costs. Which means environmental benefits for all too.

Reassuringly for the motor industry, it is clear that the UK's need for motor vehicles remains as strong as ever. Almost half of all car owners (46 per cent) continue to drive every day and 35 per cent of those with one car say they still need access to a second vehicle on many occasions.

The survey of 2,000 drivers, aimed at analysing changing driving habits, found that a sizeable minority -- one in seven -- say they use a car only once a week or less, with almost five per cent of motorists saying they use their car less than once a month. Some of us are only using the car when public transport (13 per cent), walking (16 per cent) or cycling (six per cent) isn't an option. Which still leaves an awful lot of us relying on the car, day in, day out. …

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