Six out of 10 drivers are reducing the journeys they make in their cars because of the rising costs of motoring.
In a survey by specialist insurance broker Adrian Flux Insurance Services, 60 per cent of those questioned said they were using their car less than before after being hit hard in the wallet by the escalating price of keeping a car on the road.
Figures from the 2010 Department of Transport’s National Travel Survey had already revealed that the average number of trips made per year had fallen to its lowest level since the 1970s.
On average, drivers make 960 trips a year compared to 1,086 in 1997, a fall of 12 per cent, despite the number of households with access to a car increasing by 13 per cent between 1985 and 2010.
Some of the decrease in use of the family car is attributed to internet shopping, removing the need to visit out-of-town shopping centres, but the soaring price of petrol from an average of 78p per litre of unleaded in January 2001 to more than £1.42 in 2012 has left many motorists stranded.
Petrol prices have risen by 38 per cent since 2007, with diesel up 43 per cent over the same period, while car insurance premiums rose by an average of 16.4 per cent last year.
The higher motoring costs have hit customers at a time when consumers are being squeezed by the rising cost of living and static wages.
Gerry Bucke, general manager at Flux, said the survey of 1,000 motor insurance customers revealed that people were looking at ways to cut down the cost of running a car.
“Motorists are struggling to cope with the impact of high living costs which means they are choosing to make less journeys in order to make ends meet,” he said.
“With the average family having only £25 a week to spend on petrol after bills are met, it’s clear to see why journeys are being reduced and people are spending less time in their cars.
“Now, more than ever, it’s vital to make sure you save money where you can on your motoring costs, and shopping around for the best deal on your car insurance is one of the best ways to cut costs.”