The distances that we’re travelling in our cars is falling, according to new data from the Department for Transport.
The Guardian reported that analysis of 23 million MOTs found that the average car in the UK traveled 7,134 miles in 2017, which represents a ten per cent fall in the past decade. It’s also a drop from the average 7,250 miles driven in 2016.
Although higher fuel prices have undoubtedly contributed to people using their cars less, the newspaper noted that there are a number of factors that may have led to us jumping in our motors less frequently.
For instance, business mileage has dropped significantly since the government introduced changes to the country’s tax regime designed to reduce the use of company cars. Meanwhile, the number of teenagers holding a driving licence has dropped by nearly 40 per cent in the last 20 years.
The RAC also had some suggestions as to why car mileage may have declined, including the rise of online shopping which means people need to make fewer trips to high streets, and the growth of Uber offering more affordable taxi rides.
The motoring organisation also told the newspaper that it’s important to remember that MOT data only covers cars that are over three years old. It therefore doesn’t include the mileage of any new vehicles, and these newer models tend to have a higher mileage than their older counterparts.
Of course, prices at petrol pumps are likely to have made some people think twice about whether they need to get behind the wheel or whether they could walk or use public transport instead.
At the beginning of January, the RAC Fuel Watch revealed that although petrol prices have fallen in the UK by an average of 3p per litre, this is not a big enough drop in fuel prices given the sharp fall in oil prices.
Drivers should expect to see the price of petrol fall by a further 8p per litre, while the price of diesel should come down by another 10p per litre this month, if retailers pass on the savings in the lower wholesale price to their customers, the organisation noted.
Simon Williams, RAC fuel spokesperson, explained that in the past three of the largest supermarkets have typically priced their unleaded fuel at 1p to 1.5p higher than the supermarket charging the lowest rates.
However, more recently this has climbed to being 2.5p to 4p more expensive, ramping up costs for drivers.
“The decision by all supermarkets to take more profit on a litre has led to every driver having to pay more to fill up than they should have to,” he stated.
Mr Williams added that retailers are at liberty to set their own prices on fuel, and without the government intervening to introduce a retail cap – something he described as “unlikely” – there is little consumers can do.
Of course, making sure your car is in good working order is likely to improve your fuel consumption. Arranging regular car servicing in Uxbridge should therefore be on your to-do list if you want to make your vehicle as fuel efficient as possible.