A Populus poll of 15,306 AA members found 55 per cent had reduced their car usage, an 18 per cent increase over the last four months, with 10 percent opting to cut back on having their vehicles serviced.
With a litre of petrol now costing an average of 117.9 pence in Britain, 21 pence more than a year ago, the AA estimates the annual cost of petrol for a car travelling 14,481 km has risen to over £1,200 (Rs 1,01, 912).
Higher fuel prices have had a knock-on effect of increasing by 11 per cent the AA’s rate for call-outs by people who have run out of petrol.
“People who are used to putting in £20 (Rs 1,698) worth find it runs out one third earlier this year,” said AA president Edmund King. “Others are shopping around for a bargain but never find one, so run out of fuel.
“Our 3,000 patrols are reporting that the roads are quieter and that drivers are conserving precious fuel by sticking to the speed limits.”
According to the AA, the cost of owning a car, whether it is used or not, is about £4,000 (Rs 3,39,708) for an average family saloon including depreciation. That figure does not include fuel costs, repairs or parking fees or road tolls.
Last week the government postponed a rise in fuel duty planned for October for at least another six months because of soaring world oil prices as it tried to keep the headline rate of inflation down. The poll was carried out between July 4 and 16.