Petrol prices forcing drivers out of their cars
Experts fear driving could become the preserve of the rich, as escalating problems in the Middle East threaten to push petrol to £8 a gallon.
93% of drivers believe current petrol prices are too high and say they will cut down on using their cars, the RAC has revealed.
A survey by the motoring organisation found the soaring cost of petrol has led many drivers to rethink how often they take to the road, with 75% admitting they have already made changes.
A Moneywise survey backed up the RAC's findings with 63% of readers claiming rising petrol prices have forced them to drive less. Almost a quarter of those surveyed (23%) said they were forced to drive for work and other commitments while only 14% said they chose to drive as much as always.
Prices to rise further
And the problem looks set to get worse. Spiralling problems in the Middle East are pushing up oil prices while the government is set to increase prices even further on 1 April with the planned fuel duty rise of inflation plus 1p.
Experts predict with the fuel duty rise, a gallon of petrol would cost £6.10 a gallon and if the problems in the Middle East escalate, this could rise to as much as £8 a gallon.
RAC motoring strategist, Adrian Tink said: "It's clear that we're getting to the stage where drivers are going to be priced out of using their cars. Just another 9p increase on a litre of fuel will see people significantly limit their vehicle use. Before we know it the car will become the preserve of the rich.
"For many, the car is a necessity rather than a luxury. For example, people living in rural communities have little, or no, public transport to access essential local services – making the car vital for day-to-day living."
Tink says the chancellor must scrap the planned fuel duty rise and take a close look at what can be done to control the prices.
He says: "This is very much a tax on modern living which many people have little choice but to pay. If the government refuses to act then it will hit families, businesses and the economy hard."
Vote in our poll: Have rising petrol prices forced you to drive less?
An increase in the general level of prices that persists over a period of time. The inflation rate is a measure of the average change over a period, usually 12 months. If inflation is up 4%, this means the price of products and services is 4% higher than a year earlier, requiring we spend and extra 4% to buy the same things we bought 12 months ago and that any savings and investments must generate 4% (after any taxes) to keep pace with inflation. Since 2003, the Bank of England has used the consumer prices index (CPI) as its official measure of inflation (see also retail prices index).