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Escalating diesel prices fail to deter car buyers

The threat of diesel rising to a record £1 per litre has done little to stop drivers, who have made diesel the top choice of fuel for vehicles in the UK.

Over 70% of people questioned by the Bank of Scotland Vehicle Finance’s survey* said they drive a diesel, compared to 58% in 2005 and 50% in 2004. In the past year, 36% of drivers made the switch from petrol to diesel, according to the survey.

Company car drivers clock up the most mileage each year, and Sean Bingham, director of new business at Bank of Scotland Vehicle Finance believes they need to start thinking about their spend on fuel.

“With fuel prices differing from forecourt to forecourt - drivers, whether they have company funded fuel or a reimbursement procedure - need to ensure they are getting the most cost effective solution every time," said Bingham.

Results from the survey show:

  • The amount of time spent behind the wheel on company business has decreased with 11% of respondents spending 16-20 hours a week behind the wheel compared to 14% in 2005.

  • Drivers are spending longer on their daily commute from the home to office, which could suggest that escalating house prices are forcing workers to live further away from the office or rush hour traffic is worsening. This year, almost a third of those questioned (32%) now spend from six-10 hours a week commuting, compared to 30% in 2005. In addition, 20% of respondents said that the amount of time spent commuting between the home and the office has significantly increased compared to last year

  • Private mileage, which factors in the daily commute, has increased from 8,860 miles per year compared to just 8,417 in 2005.

    Bingham says: "The news that time spent behind the wheel has decreased is encouraging and could, in part, be linked to the increased use of satellite navigation systems. Sixty two per cent of all our respondents say that they use it regularly. However, whilst we are finding more efficient ways of working, we are working longer hours and our core data since 2002 has not seen the same reduction in mileage that the Chancellor is citing. Businesses are still working their staff harder."

    Sixty six per cent of drivers responding to the survey also believe the speed limit on Britain’s motorways should be raised to 80mph and it is women drivers who are pushing the change in legislation. Sixty nine per cent of women, compared to 66% of men want to see the speed limit raised. In total only 14% of all drivers want to see it stay at 70mph.

    Bingham says: "These results come as no surprise as 61% of all respondents regularly admit to breaking the speed limit on motorways and 53% think that speed cameras are a bad idea. The good news is that 86% of drivers think that the speed limit near schools should be 25mph or below proving that they are not speed demons all of the time."

  • *1,988 company car drivers participated in the 2006 Bank of Scotland Vehicle Finance survey.
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