Cost of motoring affects car buyers

* Downsizing increases * Car clubs double * Cost of fuel to blame...

30 April 2010
Cost of motoring affects car buyers

Motorists' behaviour is changing fast, due to increases in fuel costs, according to statistics from the Department for Transport.

People aren't buying as many new cars for a start, despite the Government's scrappage scheme. New-car registrations fell by 6.8% in 2009, compared with the previous year.

Owners are also hanging on to their cars for longer, with the average age reaching 7.1 years, compared with 6.6 years in 2003.

Those who did buy a new car bought a smaller one the average engine size dropped by 3.6% to 1692cc last year from the previous year's figures.

Sales of hybrids and electric cars increased from 48,000 in 2008 to 62,000 last year, while the proportion of diesel cars rose for the first time in a decade, reaching 41%.

Many motorists have given up owning a car altogether instead, they have joined car clubs, with the number of members almost doubling from 64,679 to 112,928 over the past year.

Fuel prices to blame
Many believe the rising cost of fuel is to blame for the changes in buying patterns.

On January 1 2009, petrol cost 87.15p per litre; by the end of the year, the price had hit 107.85p per litre a result of higher crude oil prices, higher wholesale prices from refiners and higher taxes.