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Rising fuel costs impact on car purchase decision

Over half of motorists are changing their driving habits and considering a more fuel efficient vehicle due to the rising cost of fuel.

In reaction to the OFT’s decision not to investigate the UK fuel market, BCA’s survey of 4,000 motorists show 1 in 10 would change to a more fuel-efficient car if the price of fuel hit £1.50 per litre.

Independent retailers had complained that oil companies and supermarkets had been using their scale to gain an unfair advantage, but the OFT found no evidence of this.

In its report published today, it also found very little evidence that petrol and diesel prices rise quickly when oil prices go up, but are slow to fall when prices drop, as had been claimed.

Tim Naylor, editor of the BCA Used Car Market Report, said: “Our research suggests many motorists are changing the way they drive to maximise their fuel efficiency.

“70% of car owners have already taken steps to cut their motoring costs, trying different ways to combat the financial pressures. These include altering the way they drive (17% drive more slowly to conserve fuel), avoiding heavy breaking (16%) and opting for more fuel-efficient models.”

Research conducted by BMRB for the BCA Used Car Market Report also revealed that 29% of motorists are now walking more often, while 21% of car owners are cutting the number of car journeys as a response to the increased prices at the pumps.

Key Used Car Market survey findings:

• 9 out of 10 motorists intend to replace their car with a different type of vehicle next time. Top of the shopping list is a car with better fuel consumption followed by lower road tax, a smaller car, best purchase price and lower CO2
• 70% of car owners said they had already taken some steps to cut car operating costs
• 29% are walking more often
• 21% are cutting back on journeys

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