Petrol prices forcing drivers out of their cars

Published by on 25 February 2011.
Last updated on 25 February 2011

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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.

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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."

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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."

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