Cost of fuel forcing motorists to cut back on their driving, new survey finds

An electric vehicle being charged Photo: John Walton/PA Wire

Eddie Cunningham

THE cost of fuel is forcing more motorists to cut back on their driving, with many planning to buy electric or hybrid next time around, a new survey reveals.

More than 7-in-10 are cutting back on usage and 45pc are availing of public transport.

In a revealing insight into what motorists are thinking, the Carzone report found that the fuel prices are the main concern (69pc).

Such has been the impact of higher costs that 33pc say they have already downsized, or plan to reduce the number of cars in their household to cut back on costs.

One-third (33pc) say they spend between €201/€300 on running costs every month and 23pc spend upwards of €300.

Of those who switched to hybrid or electric 57pc did so because they’re cheaper to run.

And the general shortage of cars forced 33pc of buyers to consider brands that they would normally not entertain.

Nearly a half (46pc) intend on using car finance to fund their next car.

And, predictably, 50pc do not believe the Government's target of having 945,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads by 2030 is realistic

The annual report from Carzone examines trends in the motoring industry here.

It was compiled by analysing data from the 10 million-plus searches carried out on Carzone from January to February this year, as well as in-depth research with 1,000 motorists.

With the cost of fuel “front of mind” for many, 40pc say they always check the price before filling their tank - and 41pc “sometimes check”

Insurance remains a major concern for 65pc. Premiums are increasing for 36pc this year. That is after 78pc said they shopped around for a more competitive quote before doing a deal.

Increasing costs are also influencing buying decisions with 18pc admitting they chose a smaller car to save on running costs.

The increase in electricity prices is cited as being responsible for those not yet ready to make the switch to an EV while 52pc said the potential cost of having to install a home charger affected their decision not to switch yet.

The report also reveals that almost half (44pc) of respondents change their car every 4-5 years with 27pc changing every three years or fewer. Almost a quarter (23pc) budget between €1,000 - €5,000; 35pc between €5,000 - €15,000; 22pc have a budget of €15,000 – 25,000 and 19pc plan to spend more than €25,000 on their next car.

Karl Connolly, audience manager Carzone, said: “Our report indicates that motorists are most concerned about the rising costs of running their vehicles, with fuel being the top concern for 69pc of motorists.”

He pointed to the effects of the pandemic continuing with a third of car buyers having to consider another brand or car model due to stock shortages.

He added: “However, it is encouraging to see that a third of Irish motorists plan to purchase an electric or hybrid model as their next car, with 57pc of those choosing to purchase because they are cheaper to run.