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Rising fuel prices push motorists to reconsider their car usage

57% of adults surveyed said that they were changing or considering changing how frequently they use their car.

CONSUMER RESEARCH FROM Aviva found that out of 1,000 people, most were seeking to drive less to reduce petrol and diesel costs.

32% of women and 22% of men said they are unable to make any changes to their current amount of time on the roads. 

The average monthly cost of fuel for Irish motorists is €180, with one third of those surveyed spending more than €200 each month.

Billy Shannon, managing director of personal lines at Aviva, said that the rise in petrol and diesel prices has caused people to re-evaluate their relationship with driving.

“The petrol pumps are one of the hardest hit areas in terms of inflation having seen significant increases in the last 12 months. Where once people might take the car out on the weekend for trips and travel, or use it for shorter journeys around their locality, many are now having to think about how they can economise and find alternative modes of transport where possible”.

During 2021 the price of petrol rose by 31%, with diesel increasing by 33%, according to AA Ireland.

This means that fuel for an average car, travelling 17,000km a year, will cost a driver approximately €800 more annually than it did in 2020.

Aviva’s survey also found that people aged 18-24 are most likely to walk more (80%) and to increase their use of public transport (78%) to save money on fuel.

4 in 10 drivers surveyed have not and will not change their driving behaviour due to a reliance on driving.

This figure varies in urban areas; with 14% in Dublin unable reduce their usage, compared to 41% in rural provinces such as Connaught and Ulster.

Shannon welcomed the fact that 1 in 10 people committed to cycling more frequently, with 69% of 18-24 year olds reporting to do so.

“While the impetus for change may be primarily down to financial constraints, it is none-the-less encouraging to see that lots of people are willing to get on their bikes and to walk more as it will have a positive knock-on effect on traffic congestion, the environment and on people’s overall physical health and wellness,” he said.

The government has referenced these rising fuel costs in recent initiatives to encourage the use of electric vehicles.

On Thursday Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan launched the online public consultation on the department’s Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Strategy as well as a draft strategy for delivering a public charging network to support up to 194,000 electric cars and vans by 2025.

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