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Car ownership 'essential to everyday life', say 79% of motorists

The importance of the car for everyday mobility has been highlighted by a survey in which 79% of motorists claimed that owning a vehicle was “essential for everyday life”.

As the drive towards different mobility types places car sharing and the greater use of public forms of transport as the forefront of most future mobility debates, the results of the Opinion Research survey of 2,000 has indicated that few motorists intend to give up their car any time soon.

While more than three quarters (79%) of survey respondents said that that having a car is essential for their everyday life that figure rose to 85% for those living in rural areas. 

The results come as car dealers prepare to consider whether the emergence of a new kind of urban mobility could threaten the traditional motor retail model at the next Smart Transport Conference, at the ICC in Birmingham, on September 18, 2019.

Ben Wooltorton, the chief operating officer at, which commissioned the research, said: “Owning a car is an absolute necessity for many people, particularly those who live in rural areas and where public transport can’t be relied upon.

“When over half of people need a car just to get to work, we aren’t going to be consigning cars to the past quite yet.”’s survey revealed that 57% of motorists aged under 65 claimed they could not get to work without a car, rising to almost 60% of under 34s.

Nine out of ten (90%) drivers living in the West Midlands said that their car is essential, meanwhile, closely followed by Wales (88%), while Londoners (64%) are the least likely to find a car essential (64%).

The survey – conducted online by Opinium Research amongst 2,000 adults who drove and owned a car between January 22 and 28, 2019 – also found that public transport is not a suitable replacement for a car for many. 

Almost half (48%) say public transport in their area is not reliable or is patchy, rising to 69% in rural areas, while only 29% of Londoners feel this. 

Again those under 34 (61%) are the most likely to agree that public transport is not reliable.

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