Aug 2013 | Motorists Using Car More
19 August 2013
Britons are getting back in their cars after five years of cutting back on motoring, research for Halfords Autocentres has discovered.
The number of miles travelled on the roads in three months to June was up by 2.9% to 76.8 billion, the equivalent of driving nearly 250 more miles a year.*
The use of the car has consistently fallen since 2007 as motorists have been hit by ever higher bills. In that time the price of unleaded has soared by 40% from an average 96.7p a litre to the current 135.8p a litre.
However in recent months the cost of fuel has remained relatively stable and is down from a high of 140.2p a litre last September while general running costs have also fallen slightly for those owning family sized vehicles**.
Halfords Autocentres used the latest Government road statistics to reveal that the number of vehicles on the highways increased in the months May to June by 4.9% on motorways, 3.6 % on minor country roads and 1.4% on main 'A' roads. And the growth has come from an upsurge in mileage done by small vehicles rather than heavy goods lorries.
The figures coincide with the country feeling more confident about the economy and with studies showing people are taking more getaway breaks and holidays in the UK. Research for Halfords found over eight in ten car owners planned day trips this summer.
Rory Carlin from Halfords Autocentres commented: "We know that motorists have had it tough and the cost of driving has had a painful impact but for most the car is still an essential part of their everyday lives as a means of getting to work or travelling to a destination either to visit friends and relatives or just getting away for a break.
"The increased use of minor roads indicated that it's leisure trips that are on the increase rather than business or commuter traffic which would use the main routes.
It could be that motorists are budgeting better and are taking advantage of better deals or are driving more carefully to get extra miles per gallon. People know that to get the best from their vehicles they have to be well serviced and Halfords Autocentre technicians provide an excellent value for money service to help ease the cost of driving.
The latest figures are in marked contrast to a Halfords Autocentres' "Friend of the Motorist" study carried out last autumn which revealed car owners had changed their habits in response to the financial demands of keeping a vehicle on the road by staying at home more and making fewer trips.