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Driving habits changing due to cost-of-living

Driving habits are changing as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, according to the results of a survey published by Kia.

According to the carmaker, 37% of respondents say they are now using their car less for short urban journeys, and 37% have instead taken to walking or cycling ‘where possible’.

With fuel and electricity prices rising at a rate not seen in decades, a third of drivers surveyed say they now pay more attention to where they can refuel or recharge their car more affordably. In addition, 28% say they now make more effort to plan journeys (e.g. times and routes) to save fuel, highlighting changes in driving habits.

When behind the wheel, 31% of motorists say they are thinking more about their own driving style to increase efficiency and save money on fuel, accelerating less often and keeping to a lower speed. The survey found that a much higher proportion of younger drivers (54% of those aged between 18 to 24) have changed their driving style in this way, compared to just 26% of those aged between 55 and 64.

Driving habits impacting social interaction

The survey also highlighted how rising fuel costs are impacting how frequently drivers use their car to visit family and friends, with 25% of respondents confirming they have cut back on such journeys. The trend is highest among Londoners (35%), with those in Northern Ireland the least likely to say they have reduced this type of trip by car (11%).

Overall, 19% of those surveyed say they have cut their spending on non-essential items so they can continue using their car as normal. However, there are wide regional variations – 33% of Londoners have made cutbacks to keep driving, compared to 20% of Scots and just 10% of those based in the West Midlands.

While many car owners are changing how they drive, Kia’s survey has highlighted that over half (52%) still wished they knew more about how to adapt their driving style to further reduce their fuel or battery energy consumption. Younger drivers aged between 18 and 24 were particularly enthusiastic about this (86%), compared to just 38% of those aged over 65.

The lure of electric

With the cost of fuel so high and environmental factors at the forefront of many people’s minds, more UK drivers are considering switching to an electrified vehicle rather than alter driving habits. Of those with a petrol or diesel car, 52% of survey respondents said they were now either ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle when they next change their car. 

The survey also highlighted that Londoners were the keenest on electric or hybrid car ownership (56%), while those located in the East Midlands were least enthusiastic (38%).

Of those likely to change to an electric or hybrid vehicle, an equal number (42%) would choose a hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicle as those who would choose a battery electric vehicle, while 8% reported no preference.

Sanka De Silva, Marketing Director at Kia UK, said: “During these challenging times for many UK households, our survey highlights how drivers are changing their driving and wider purchasing habits to be more considered with their income.”

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