I received an interesting email today – a rare thing for a Monday morning – a set of stats on how motorists are attempting to become more environmentally friendly. How lovely, I thought, that the UK’s drivers aspire to be green. But, of course, this isn’t really about being an eco-warrior at all, it’s all about trying to save some cold hard frugal cash, and good luck to them I say!
According to the exciting annual used car survey by British Car Auctions, vehicle auctioneers, rising petrol prices and the credit crunch are forcing many drivers to change their ways. 38 per cent of motorists surveyed are already leaving the car behind to walk more, ostensibly to cut their carbon footprint (is it just me, or are you sick of that phrase now too?) but really to save on petrol. And 30 per cent of drivers surveyed said they plan to cut their mileage down to save fuel. Half of motorists also said they would consider buying a vehicle that does more miles to the gallon, while a fifth said they would switch to one with lower maintenance and service costs. And most telling of all, only 28 per cent are considering buying a car in the next 12 months, compared to 47 per cent who said it was unlikely or that they definitely won’t be shopping for a new motor. Worries about vehicle excise duty are also driving the UK’s motorists to become greener.
Everyone is feeling the pinch at the petrol pump, along with the rising price of everything else, so it’s hardly a surprise people are making changes. Interestingly, it was the wealthiest drivers surveyed that planned to implement the most green changes – possibly, it’s suggested, because they have the option to downsize their vehicle, whereas poorer drivers might not.
But public transport isn’t getting any cheaper either. Down in London the new mayor, Boris, is taking a lot of flak after announcing that he is hiking tube and bus fares in the capital. And no doubt we will all see the usual inflation-busting train fare hikes in January all over the UK that we see most years.
Fittingly we took part in a raft race on the Thames in Twickenham yesterday. Well, I say we – yours truly played official photographer and valuables holder while DJ and our friends James, Matt and Emma bravely took to the ocean waves in a raft they made that morning from laminate flooring, tyres and er..about three rolls of duck tape.
They came first in their heat (ultimately beaten by a team of people dressed as the Simpsons) and managed not to sink the thing, which, frankly, impressed me most. A viable alternative mode of transport? Who knows! It’s worth a try.
Has the credit crunch changed your approach to motoring? Have you given up your car? Are transport costs out of control? Or have you always preferred walking everywhere anyway? Leave a comment and let me know.