Rising insurance premiums, petrol prices and car maintenance costs are pushing drivers off the roads and onto public transport, according to MoneyExpert.com*.
The independent financial comparison website says a quarter of all motorists (25%) claim to use their car less because of the increasing cost of running a vehicle.
Hardest hit are older drivers with 29 per cent of over 55s saying they have travelled less by car in the past year because they cannot afford to.
The majority of respondents in the MoneyExpert.com poll cited rising petrol prices as the main reason for ditching the car (76%), with high car insurance premiums (8%) and maintenance costs (8%) also hitting motorists hard.
The average cost of a litre of unleaded fuel in the UK is now 107.5p but prices have reached as high as 118.9p** in some regions of the country, meaning someone driving a Ford Focus could fork out as much as £65 just to fill the tank***.
And MoneyExpert.com says rising car insurance premiums are also putting off motorists as cash-strapped consumers struggle to maintain their previous lifestyles in the midst of the credit crunch. The average comprehensive car insurance policy has risen to £629.04****.
Sean Gardner of MoneyExpert.com said: "Many people are finding their finances are being squeezed to the limit, and when that limit breaks something has to give. For some that means leaving the car in the drive and taking the bus or bicycle to work because driving has simply become too expensive."
"Petrol costs are high but the single biggest outlay a driver has to account for is their insurance premium. And as it’s illegal to drive without it the only way to minimise the damage is to shop ’til you drop and get the best possible car insurance deal you can find."
The most recent figures from MoneyExpert.com’s authoritative Switching Index shows that some 5.9 million people switched car insurance provider in the past six months, as the pressure grows on consumers to find the best deal.
And to add to the increasing cost of running a car Chancellor Alistair Darling announced in this year’s Budget that fuel duty will increase by half a pence per litre in real terms from 2010 on gas guzzlers, and fuel duty will rise by 2p per litre in October this year.
MoneyExpert.com says that regularly reviewing providers for a range of services is good practice but warns consumers that it might not always make financial sense to switch.
MoneyExpert.com offers a unique service which enables people to find the financial products which best meet their specific needs, and which they are more likely to be successful in being accepted for. It includes exclusive research conducted by MORI, which reveals providers’ service levels. This information is married up with a financial database which lists the products suited to the customer. For the first time, people can review a product’s price, features and also the level of service offered by the provider to enable them to make a more informed choice.
MoneyExpert.com aims to demystify the complex world of personal finance, and to help inform customers of the choices available. The service can be found at www.moneyexpert.com
* Online Research carried out by YouGov who interviewed 2,125 GB adults (18+) between 31st March and 2nd April 2008. Grossed up using ONS statistics on no. of households and adults in Great Britain.
** www.petrolprices.com, 11th April 2008
*** based on 55 litre fuel capacity
**** AA insurance index