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Rising costs and government policies to push motorists out of their cars

The car retail sector’s vehicle supply issues look set to be compounded by a cost-of-motoring crisis and growing moves to discourage car usage across the UK.

According to a survey from Starline Motor Finance, the cost of running the average car has escalated by £1,000 in the past year as UK inflation reached double figures in a trend that looks likely to accelerate households’ decision to sell a vehicle.

Paul Burgess, the chief executive of Startline Motor Finance, said: “For a lot of drivers, an annual £960 hike in motoring costs is money that they can’t easily find.

Startline Motor Finance chief executive, Paul Burgess“Last month, our research showed that one in four families were thinking of selling their car or perhaps downsizing from two cars to one – and this really underlines why.

“The latest finding puts into perspective just how much rising motoring costs are affecting ordinary people who need their car to simply get to work, take their kids to school and drive to the supermarket.”

Respondents also claimed their worsening personal finances would influence the decision-making when buying their next used car with running costs at 66%, the cost of living at 65%, inflation at 35% and job security at 22% topping their concerns.

The cost-of-living crisis is among a number of pressures on UK motorists, which car retailers will need to help car owners navigate, a subject recently explored in AM Magazine.

Startline’s findings about the growing financial pressure on car owners come less than a year after former Transport Minister Trudy Harrison stated that move away from “20th century thinking centred around private vehicle ownership”.

A new report published by the Scottish Government last week suggests the number of miles travelled by car by 20 per cent by 2030.

And next week Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt could also outline plans to tax electric vehicle (EV) drivers in his Autumn Statement, it has been suggested.

In a move that could further disincentivise car buyers to make the switch to a new EV – following Government’s removal of the plug-in car grant (PiCG) last year – Hunt is said to be considering how to plug the £35 billion revenue black hole left by the ban of petrol and diesel cars at the end of the decade.

The Scottish Government’s approach will aim to ensure that alternatives to car travel are “available and affordable”.

MSPs on Holyrood’s Cross Party Group (CPG) on Sustainable Transport have said public transport costs should be reviewed as part of efforts to reduce the number of miles travelled by car by 20 per cent by 2030.

In response to the report, the national charity for shared transport, Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK), suggested shared transport such as car clubs, ride share and bike hire play a vital role in that.

Households can save more than £2,000-a-year by switching from a private vehicle to a car club, it said.

Rachael Murphy, Scotland director of CoMoUK, said: “Motorists can save thousands of pounds a year by not owning a car and joining a car club instead, which can also encourage a more active lifestyle through walking and cycling.”

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