No stomach for fuel protests?

AA letter helps drivers appeal to MPs

31 January 2011

Drivers suffering from high fuel prices are urged to write to their MPs and influence parliamentary opinion after research* found that only 7% of AA members have considered doing so.

The AA/Populus* survey also shows there is little stomach for direct action through protests.

Instead, the vast majority will resort to gritting their teeth and trying to ride out record prices by cutting back on car use and shopping around for best fuel prices.

Nearly two-thirds have already reduced car use, other consumer spending or both.

From past experience, we know that a full post bag if protests can concentrate minister' minds

Edmund King, AA President

Outline letter

To try to restore drivers' faith in the democratic process, the AA has published the outline of a letter to MPs that can be personalised with individuals' details and circumstances, explaining the impact of soaring fuel prices on everyday lives.

Find your local MP >>

Dear (Mr/Mrs/Ms) .......MP's name here

I feel compelled to write to you about the rising cost of petrol and diesel and the severe impact this is having on my finances and ability to travel.

I am .......describe your age, occupation, marital status, family size here

Since the beginning of last year, average petrol pump prices have risen from just under 111p/litre to almost 128p/litre. Diesel now costs more than 132p/litre, compared to 112.5p a year ago.

I would like to explain to you what impact this is having on my ability to drive and go about my everyday life.

My circumstances are:

....................Describe here how you use your car (work, daily trips essential journeys etc.), your annual mileage, how much you're spending on fuel and the impact of higher fuel prices on other aspects of your life.

As my local MP, I would be grateful if you could let me know your own thoughts on record fuel prices and the financial difficulties this presents me and other drivers.

Could you please tell me what your party is doing to try to improve the situation for millions of drivers who use their cars as an every day necessity.

Above all, as my MP, I should be grateful if you would raise my concerns in Parliament and with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Yours sincerely

your name and address


"It is a sad reflection of drivers' political disenchantment that writing to the local parliamentary representative is so low down the list of responses to crippling pump prices. However, from past experience, we know that a full post bag of protests can concentrate ministers' minds," says Edmund King, the AA's president.

"Motorists have become increasingly punch-drunk with the continual battering from fuel duty increases and shocked at the cost of filling up."

Survey results

How are you likely to respond to the rising price of petrol and diesel?

  • Shop around when buying fuel – 64%
  • Drive less – 51%
  • Drive more economically – 49%
  • Use public transport more – 22%
  • Join protests – 10%
  • Do nothing – 8%
  • Write to MP/government – 7%
  • Car share – 7%
  • Start a No 10 petition – 4%
  • Don't know – 4%

How have you responded to high petrol and diesel prices?

  • Have cut back on other spending only – 14%
  • Decided to use the car less only – 29%
  • I've done both – 20%
  • All three combined – 63%

* AA/Populus survey of 15,199 AA members between 23 December 2010 and 4 January 2011