Motorists sleeping in cars to save fuel

MATT CAMPBELL
Last updated 10:40 14/12/2012
Motorists in the UK are so desperate to avoid paying for fuel, they have resorted to sleeping in their cars, a report has found.

GOING BYE BYE IN LAYBY: Motorists said to be sleeping in cars to save on fuel commuting costs.

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Motorists in the UK are so desperate to avoid paying for fuel, they have resorted to sleeping in their cars, a report has found.

The study, conducted by automotive services company RAC in conjunction with fuel price lobby group FairFuelUK, found that one in 16 (or 6 per cent) regular commuters in the UK had resorted to spending a night in their car to save money on fuel costs.

Further to that, one in 32 motorists (3 per cent) had admitted to camping close to work to avoid the drive home.

The report also found that 75 per cent of the 9000 motorists surveyed had used their car less in the past year because of rising fuel costs.

Petrol prices in the UK are high compared to Australia. Recent reports have the average price per litre for unleaded petrol at 139.7 pence (NZ$2.66/L). Diesel is slightly higher, at 143.9 pence (NZ$2.74).

The survey also found that in the UK there are 2.9 million "ghost cars" that are used less than once a week.

Quentin Willson, national spokesman for FairFuelUK, said the findings showed that the UK government needed to tackle the cost of fuel by lowering fuel duty.

"As a society we've never seen this sort of financial pressure put on personal mobility," Willson said.

The fuel duty raised by the government amounted to £26.8 billion (NZ$51.2b) in the past financial year, down on the £27.2 raised in 2010/11. The drop, said RAC technical director David Bizley, showed just how much less people were willing to spend on fuel.

"People are also telling us that they are facing tough choices about their careers with some now weighing up whether it is actually affordable to commute to work," Bizley said.

"And we had a significant number of pensioners telling us that with a fixed income there was nothing they can do but simply cut out social and non-essential trips altogether and even stop doing voluntary work."

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