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Rising costs driving motorists off the road

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Rising insurance premiums, petrol prices and car maintenance costs are pushing drivers off the roads and onto public transport, according to MoneyExpert.

The independent financial comparison website says a quarter of all motorists claim to use their car less because of the increasing cost of running a vehicle. Hardest hit are older drivers with 29% of over 55s saying they have travelled less by car in the past year because they cannot afford to.

The majority of respondents in the poll cited rising petrol prices as the main reason for ditching the car (76%), with high car insurance premiums (8%) and maintenance costs (8%) also hitting motorists hard.

The average cost of a litre of unleaded fuel in the UK is now £1.07 but prices have reached as high as £1.18 in some regions of the country, meaning someone driving a Ford Focus could fork out as much as £65 just to fill the tank.

MoneyExpert says rising car insurance premiums are also putting off motorists as cash-strapped consumers struggle to maintain their previous lifestyles in the midst of the credit crunch. The average comprehensive car insurance policy has risen to £629.

Sean Gardner, spokesperson for MoneyExpert, said: “Many people are finding their finances are being squeezed to the limit, and when that limit breaks something has to give. For some that means leaving the car in the drive and taking the bus or bicycle to work because driving has simply become too expensive.

“Petrol costs are high but the single biggest outlay a driver has to account for is their insurance premium. And as it’s illegal to drive without it the only way to minimise the damage is to shop until you drop and get the best possible car insurance deal you can find.”

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