Spiralling fuel costs are driving owners to ditch their cars and turn to buses and pushbikes

One third of motorists plan to turn to public transport and leave the car on the driveway. Is the £100 a tank milestone figure the final straw for many?

One third of motorists now plan to turn to public transport and pushbikes and leave the car on the driveway.

Fuel costs are continuing to rise and may soon exceed the £100 a tank milestone figure and this seems to be the final straw for many.

July’s Startline Used Car Tracker survey, compiled by ADP Global research reported 35% of the motoring public will stop using their own vehicle, 42% said they’d already made the switch.

A 21% increase (to 53%) reported their finances have worsened, resulting in a 6% increase in those now not planning to change their car and only 23% of people would carry on using their car at all if fuel costs got any higher.

Among the options being taken up by motorists moving away from personal transport such as walking (32%), cycling (16%), car sharing (13%), electric bikes (6%) and electric scooters (4%).

Dealers are now heavily reporting the cost of the car is at the top of the list of customer priorities.

Close Brothers Motor Finance’s Dealer Satisfaction Survey found that almost three-quarters of dealers (74 per cent) put the cost of the car at the top of the list of customer priorities.

The enormous figure was well ahead of the next biggest priority, mileage, which was cited by just 26 per cent of the 52 dealerships to take part.

The UK’s cost-of-living crisis has prompted 63% of car dealers to change the types of used vehicles they stock to prioritise smaller, more affordable products.

Responding to Startline Motor Retail’s Used Car Tracker, 81% of dealers said the crisis has affected the types of cars consumers want to buy and as a result, more economical cars are being offered by 26%, cars that cost less to lease or buy by 24% and smaller cars by 13%.

Startline said the main driver retailers’s stock profile shift is changing consumer preferences, with 37% saying buyers now want cars that are more economical to run, 29% cars that cost less to buy or lease and 15% smaller cars.

Its findings came as a seperate study carried out by WMS Group, and parent company Opteven, revealed that two thirds (65%) of car buyers are now opting for older vehicles, whilst almost two fifths (38%) are also purchasing higher mileage cars and a third (31%) are buying smaller vehicles, in a bid to keep costs down.

As we reported 3 weeks ago, the demand for Diesels are bucking the electric vehicle revolution due to their relative low purchase cost and perceived fuel consumption advantages.

In times of hardship the motoring public will always look to reduce the overall cost of the vehicle they drive, dealers will respond quickly and purchase as many lower value vehicles as they can stock for easiest, safest and quickest resale. Demand for low mileage, slightly older small and mid sized vehicles will increase enormously over the next 6-24 months including and maybe especially the now publicly unloved diesel.

The Semi-conductor crisis is now believed to have reduced New car supply by an even larger amount than the whole of the pandemic, however both used car supply issues we’ve mentioned will have enormous knock on effects, now and the forseeable future.

Prices for good quality small, fuel efficient, low to medium mileage used cars will continue to grow whilst we suspect larger and expensive premium gas guzzlers will find it difficult to maintain their current used car values.

It is a very curious time, maybe the rising retail value of a nice little used car may push more and more people away from car ownership totally. The next 2-3 years will show some enormous and very interesting changes to car buying habits.

Market stats supplied by Automotive Management Online

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