More than a third of motorists will switch to public transport if fuel costs carry on rising, according to motor finance company

More than a third (35%) of motorists say they will switch to public transport if petrol and diesel prices continue to rise, according to the Startline Used Car Tracker.

Around four out of ten (42%) say that fuel costs have already made them use public transport instead of their car, while fewer than a quarter (23%) say they will carry on using their car as usual even if prices at the pumps continue to spiral, according to the motor finance company’s tracker.

Motorists are also moving out of their cars and opting to use other modes of transport such as walking (32%), cycling (16%), car-sharing (13%), electric bikes (6%) and electric scooters (4%), reports the Business Desk.

Gregor Sutherland, COO at Startline Motor Finance, said: “The recent arrival of the £100 tank of fuel feels like a watershed moment in the cost of living crisis and is clearly making quite a lot of people rethink how they use their car.

“They are looking at all kinds of alternatives – with walking and cycling being clear favourites but public transport also in the mix. Probably the bigger question is whether these are permanent changes or people will find ways to use their car more often in the longer term.”

The Startline Used Car Tracker also shows that the cost of living crisis is changing used car buying habits. Sixty-one per cent (up 9%) are likely to buy, with wear and tear cited by 53% (10% higher than June) as the main reason for replacing their car.

There’s also been a 6% increase (to 12%) in those who aren’t planning to buy a used car, with a 21% increase (to 53%) in those who say their personal finances have worsened.

The cost of living also looms large when motorists are asked about the factors affecting their choice of used car, being the top factor at 59% – up 6% compared to June.

Inflation was also mentioned by those surveyed – up 6% (to 36%) – as well as job security – up 6% (to 26%).

Mr Sutherland added: “Money worries are obviously affecting how people are thinking about buying a used car and we already know dealers are stocking smaller, cheaper, more economical cars because of changing consumer preferences.

“It’s interesting that a rising number of people are planning on buying a used car purely because their old one is wearing out. Some will undoubtedly have been hanging onto their cars for longer than usual because there’s been so much uncertainty around in the last few
years, like the pandemic, but there will always come a point when they need replacing.”

The Startline Used Car Tracker is compiled for Startline Motor Finance by APD Global Research, well-known in the motor industry for their business intelligence reporting and
customer experience programs. This month, 300 consumers and 51 dealers were questioned.

Founded nine years ago, Startline is a flexible motor finance specialist and employs 170 people at its Glasgow headquarters. It works with around half of the UK’s top 50 franchise dealers by turnover as well as 70% of the top 50 independent car retailers, and currently accounts for more than 2% of the UK used car motor finance sector by volume.

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