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29 July 2011
Soaring fuel prices and recession are forcing families to combine trips and go out less often, to the detriment of business.
New figures from the Department of Transport analysed by the AA show that households with one car are jumping behind the wheel 4.3% less often but cutting their mileage by 1.8% compared to two years ago.
The National Travel Survey shows that households with one car made 43 fewer trips and drove 119 fewer miles in 2010 than in 2008 (1010 v 967 trips, 6370 v 6251 miles).
Those with two or more cars made 26 less trips, down 2.4%, and drove 380 fewer miles, down 4.2%, compared to 2008 (1083 v 1057 trips, 9152 v 8772 miles).
Earlier in the year Department for Energy and Climate Change figures showed that one billion fewer litres of petrol were bought in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2008.
Current pump price rises offer little hope of respite in the near future. This week, average UK petrol prices rose another half a penny to 136.40p a litre, while diesel prices are up three-quarters of a penny since Sunday to 140.73p.
"Here are yet more official figures showing how badly recession and record fuel prices are taking away people's mobility" says Edmund King, the AA's president.
"Piece by piece, a jigsaw of financial hardship and lost travel freedom is being revealed by official statistics. The AA/Populus panel survey laid the corner piece in June with its revelation that the percentage of AA members cutting back on car use, other spending to compensate or both had risen from 63% at the turn of the year to 76% by mid year."