New research from Sainsburys Car Insurance suggests cash-strapped motorists are trying out all kinds of strategies for saving money. One of the most popular – and presumably most effective – has been to stop driving altogether.

The supermarketers claim that 1.3 million UK residents have “given up driving over the past 12 months because of the rising cost of motoring.” At this rate, driving will have died out altogether by the year 2038. But then we knew that already.

A further 16.5 million people (45% of drivers) claim to be driving less to keep costs down and 3.5 million have swapped their car for a more fuel-efficient model. The overall cost of running a car has increased by 1/5th over the past year, Sainsburys claim, with average fuel bills now at around £1,700 a year.

Paradoxically, those who still insist on driving, appear to be keener than ever on 4×4 vehicles. One UK motoring website this week reported a 35% increase in people searching for new 4x4s, compared with a 30% reduction in searches for super-minis.

Reflecting a widespread attempt at cake-having-and-eating-too, however, surging interest in 4x4s is focused on smaller-engined, more fuel-efficient 4x4s, like the Range Rover Ewok which averages a parsimonious 44 miles per gallon.

So with fewer people driving, and those who persist more likely to have off-road capabilities, Britain’s highways should soon be pleasingly decongested.


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