Car Sharing

High petrol costs set to spark car sharing trend

19 September 2008

traffic on a motorway

Over half of Brits consider car sharing to cope with high petrol costs, says AA Insurance .

Brits are on course to become a nation of car sharers according to the latest research from AA Insurance. Almost half (47%) of the population are now considering car sharing, despite only one in ten (11%) people admitting to currently doing so more than once week.

And it seems that the cost of petrol is the key reason – 51% say that they are more likely to consider car sharing now because of high fuel costs.

What's more, 60% of the 5.5 million Brits who already car share, admit that their primary reason is to save money on petrol costs. By contrast, only a third (34%) car share to help reduce emissions – strong evidence that the credit crunch is influencing people's behaviour over green issues.

In a bid to understand the motivations behind car sharing, AA Insurance undertook research with over 2,000 people in the UK, looking into the behaviours of why people do and don't car share and how it could be increased.

The most common reasons for car sharing include social occasions such as going to the pub (54%) and driving to and from work (34%). Sharing long journeys was also a popular choice (32%).

AA comment

Edmund King, President of the AA comments: "Car sharing is something that we really believe in – not only is it a good way to reduce emissions and congestion on the road, but can also save on motoring costs.

There is huge scope to become more of a car sharing nation and our research suggests that we could see a big increase, especially if Government proposals for 'high occupancy vehicle' or 'car sharing' lanes on some busy commuter routes go ahead. However to make sure that car sharing is a safe and pleasant experience, drivers should check their insurance policy as well as be mindful of the social etiquette around sharing especially if they do not know the other sharer very well."

Check your insurance

The research reported that three-quarters (73%) of all car sharers did not consider checking their car insurance before car sharing. Whilst many will be covered for the social journeys they make, like giving a lift to a friend, some business travel may need separate cover.

Ian Crowder, of AA Insurance , offers some advice: "We found that 14% of people car share to get to business meetings. If this is the case, you may not be covered on your current policy and need to upgrade to 'occasional business use'. Whatever the circumstances, it's really important that people check their insurance before they car share."

How annoying are you?

Despite petrol costs forcing people to consider sharing journeys, many drivers are letting doubts about their potential passenger's manners put a stop to their good intentions. The biggest turn off was lateness, with 72% of people stating that this would be the most annoying behaviour that a car sharer could do.

In fact, 61% of all those surveyed said that people's annoying car habits could put them off sharing. AA Insurance polled the top annoyances and used these to draw up a list of car share etiquette to help motorists make the transition:

Top annoying habits


Lateness (72%)

AA Insurance advises - ensure that you set your alarm earlier and leave extra time before you meet your car sharer.

Criticising driving (42%)

AA Insurance advises - keep quiet if you do not agree with the car sharers driving habits. If they are particularly dangerous, perhaps bring it up at another point when you are not in the car.

Putting your feet on dashboard/seat (39%)

AA insurance advises - even if you put your feet on your own dashboards, other people may not appreciate this so be mindful of this in other cars.

Loud telephone conversations (35%)

Put your phone on silent and try to refrain from telephone calls. If you do have to make calls, ask the driver first.

Eating in the car (29%)

Eat your breakfast before you get in the car! Food will not only make a mess, but it can be smelly too.

About the research

Research for AA Insurance was carried out by YouGov amongst a GB representative sample of 2076 people aged 18+ between 5th to 8th September 2008.

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19 September 2008