Have soaring fuel costs driven UK motorists to greener forms of transport?

Have soaring fuel costs driven UK motorists to greener forms of transport?
According to a survey from IAM RoadSmart, due to the recent increases in the cost of fuel, drivers across the country are opting for more environmentally friendly forms of transport.

The road safety charity’s research found that one in three (33%) of motorists have decided to walk more as a result in the soaring prices of petrol and diesel.

Of the 1,004 car owners that were questioned, 17% revealed that they use public transport on a more regular basis.

A further 7% answered that they have bought a bicycle or used it more frequently this year as a result of the prices rises seen across the country.

Although many people are struggling in the face of the ongoing cost of living crisis, the challenges of rising fuel costs could be having an unexpected positive impact on promoting greener forms of transport.

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, commented: “The rising cost of fuel is yet another added expenditure for households up and down the country amid the deepening cost of living crisis.

“However, our research demonstrates that there has been an unexpected ‘green lining’ to the rising cost of fuel, as an increasing number of motorists opt for more environmentally-friendly forms of transport.”

Neil also advised that the increase in pedestrians on Britain’s busy shared streets will change the dynamics on Britain’s roads: “It is crucial to be mindful of the safety of all road users, especially those who will be more vulnerable to injury in the case of a collision.

“Adhering to the ‘hierarchy of road users’ Highway Code rule, which dictates that road users such as cyclists and pedestrians are at greater risk from road traffic, and therefore motorists should possess the greatest responsibility to minimise harm, will play a critical role in helping Britain adapt to these changes.”

The survey has highlighted the shift in attitudes towards greener alternatives to driving for citizens in Britain.

IAM RoadSmart’s survey further showed that those who have decided not to ditch the car entirely have also made greener changes to the way they drive, with 38 % of respondents stating that they have tried to drive more economically, and 19% disclosing that they have taken extra care to stick to the speed limits.

Neil added: “For many, ‘hanging up the keys’ is simply not an option, and the role of owning a car, in terms of personal mobility and keeping Britain moving, cannot be understated.

“In such cases, we would encourage motorists to follow those who have decided to drive more economically and reduce their speed, which will not only help keep the price at the pumps down, but also keep Britain’s roads as safe as they can be.”

Further data results announced by automotive trade body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), has shown that more people are looking at making the switch to an electric vehicle (EV).

Registrations of new, pure electric models increased by 23.4% to 19,933 sales last month, while plug-in hybrids saw sales jump by 6.2% to 8,899 units. This is a positive recovery for the market following months of uncertainty.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented: “Next year’s outlook shows recovery is possible and EV growth looks set to continue but, to achieve our shared net zero goals, that growth must accelerate, and consumers given every reason to invest.

“This means giving them the economic stability and confidence to make the switch, safe in the knowledge they will be able to charge – and charge affordably – when needed. The models are there, with more still to come; so must the public chargepoints.”

Have the last few months of fuel price rises and cost of living crisis made you consider greener alternatives? What more can be done to assist in the switch to electric? Leave your comments below.

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