CAR OWNERS SAVED FROM TAX HIKES AS DARLING U-TURNS ON VED Europcar survey reveals 76% of car owners are taking action to reduce costs

Following Alistair Darling’s statement today, confirming no significant increase on Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) until 2010 and a reduction in the maximum duty increase, Europcar UK Group, the UK’s leading vehicle rental organisation, supports the decision to ease the strain on motorists in an already difficult economic climate. The latest survey conducted by You Gov Plc for Europcar reveals that 54% of households have one car, but it’s the 37% of households with two cars that have felt the bigger impact of recent cost increases. 

“We welcome the Government’s decision to ease the pressure on UK households by not increasing road tax,” explains Tim Bailey, Fleet Director of Europcar UK Group. “67% of respondents to our survey agreed strongly or agreed that the fuel price increases in the summer were a wake-up call to motorists to conserve fuel. Added to this 76% who own or use a car said they have taken action to reduce their motoring costs, as their finances are stretched.”

Using the car less frequently was cited by the majority in the Europcar survey – 68% – as one of the ways they have reduced their motoring costs and 46% said they had changed the way they drive to conserve fuel. And when asked if they had ever changed an aspect of their life to reduce motoring costs, more than 1 in 10 said they had and a further 25% said they would consider taking this action in the future, demonstrating the level of impact motoring costs can have on people’s lives.

The new VED bands were designed to tackle CO2 emissions head on. Road tax would have been slashed to zero for the cleanest cars, but pushed up to nearly £1,000 for the highest polluters. Combined with the rising cost of fuel, it’s not surprising therefore that 26% of those surveyed by Europcar either agreed or strongly agreed to the statement ‘the cost of car ownership outweighs the benefits’.

Bailey concludes, “Our survey found that whilst 5% said they have actually used car rental as an alternative to ownership a further 18% said they would definitely consider it in the future. At Europcar, we are starting to see more people renting for day-to-day needs and as an alternative to second car ownership.

“Looking at the figures, 54% of the cost of running a car is fuel and over 70% of that cost is fuel tax and VAT. By renting, consumers can eliminate some of the costs, including maintenance and insurance, as well as reducing fuel consumption by hiring a nearly new car.”

Key Statistics of respondents who own/use a car

·        More than 1 in 3 people (34%) think we are trapped into car ownership.

·        Around 1 in 4 (26%) think that the cost of car ownership outweighs the benefits.

·        Almost 1 in 5 has absolutely no idea about how much it costs to run a car – only 8% correctly estimated the annual running cost of owning a new car.

·        In a bid to cut costs, I in 4 has decided not to change their car this year, 16% have cut costs in terms of servicing, maintenance (14%) and/or roadside assistance (11%)

·        68% are using their car less frequently and almost half (46%) have changed the way they drive to conserve fuel

·        Over 1 in 5 (23%) have either used or are considering using car rental as an alternative to ownership

The You Gov survey commissioned by Europcar UK Group was conducted between 23rd and 25th September 2008.  1,563 UK Adults who own or use a car were surveyed – a representative sample of all UK adults.  

END

November 2008Notes to Editors  

Owned by the French private equity firm Eurazeo, Europcar is the European leader in passenger car and light utility vehicle rentals. Since March 2007 with the acquisition of Vanguard EMEA (National & Alamo brands), its network comprises over 5,300 rental outlets in 160 countries. Europcar serves business and leisure customers throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. Excluding franchise operations, in 2007 Europcar signed more than 10 million rental contracts, with 7,700 employees and a fleet exceeding 215,000 vehicles. For more information: www.europcar.com

For further press information please contact Maddy Roles, Elinor Puzey, Dominic Dennis or Jenny Staniforth at HSL, Churcham House, 1 Bridgeman Road, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 9AJ. Telephone: 020 8977 9132. Fax: 020 8977 5200. Email: leisureteam@harrisonsadler.com

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