New research released by Sixt, Europe's leading car rental provider, has shown that the spiralling costs of car ownership are forcing the nation's drivers off the road as over 30 percent have ditched their car over the past 12 months.
Rising fuel and insurance costs scored top as the main reasons why a huge number of drivers have chosen to ditch the car and move to an alternative transport solution. By giving up their car, UK motorists are saving on average £1,789 a year according to Sixt, which takes into account the costs associated with tax, insurance, fuel, parking permits/congestion charges, and general maintenance.
The survey found that the top five major cities in the UK most affected by this sharp decline in car ownership include Aberdeen, London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow, who have collectively experienced an average fall of 48 percent.
Nationally, more than four out of five (86 percent) former car owners report that they do not miss owning a car, with this attitude being particularly prevalent in respondents from Bristol, Belfast and Liverpool.
In London in particular, private vehicle costs such as the congestion charge have hit drivers hard. Nearly one in 20 would consider giving up their car to avoid paying the Congestion Charge and nearly three quarters (70 percent) of Londoners have been hit by rising parking permit prices.
Further to rising costs, the decline in car usage by inhabitants of urban areas is contributing to the changing face of car ownership on a national scale. Almost one in five report that they are simply not getting enough usage out of their car in the city to justify keeping it - the survey found that the average Londoner uses their car for just four hours per week for leisure purposes and only 40 percent use their car on a daily basis.
The most popular alternative modes of transport:
35 percent using buses
31 percent on foot – walking or running to work
16 percent taking the tube
11 percent jumping on their bike (motor and cycle)
3 percent utilising taxis
1 per cent hiring a car by the day
Commenting on the survey's findings Paul McLoughlin, Managing Director, of Sixt UK said: "The cost of owning a car for people living in the cities - from maintenance, taxation, fuelling, insurance, and more - is proving to be a cost too far. However, people still need to use a car from time to time and the growth of short-term, last minute rental demonstrates how city motorists' relationship with the car is moving into a new, cheaper and less committed phase.
"We've found that around 20,000 people, out of the one million Londoners who have recently given up their car, for example, see a daily hire car service as a financially viable alternative method of getting around town."
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