One unanticipated upside of everyone suddenly discovering they are too poor to run a car is the perfect excuse it provides to spend less time visiting far flung family members. That’s according to the findings of a fascinating new study from

It was private motor transport in the first place that allowed us all to escape our non-nuclear families, live miles from where we work, and tool around the countryside aimlessly of a weekend. But that’s all got to stop now, what with rising fuel and insurance costs and what not. Still, we’re living in a golden age of onscreen/online entertainment, so there’s really no need to leave the house if you think about it.’s researchers have found that many British families are cutting back on family visits due to the rising cost of motoring. One in three “can no longer afford to visit their parents” and one in five have stopped bothering with their grandparents. Figures for aunts and uncles were not available – but presumably these fared even worse. Cousins? Forget about it!

How has it come to this? Fuel prices are the main culprits, according to comparethemeerkat, making Bankstone News wonder precisely what the point was of invading Iraq.

Hearteningly, the research also found that some people believe keeping in touch with parents, grandparents etc is quite important – if only so they don’t end up leaving the lot to some dogs and cats home or that nice young man who comes round and does odd jobs for free.

As many as one in four Brits proudly declare that they will “always” use their cars – whatever the cost. This has prompted 35% to cut back on “family nights out” and 14% to cut back on food to fund their petrol habits. But surely there must be something else they can do to save money and keep their motors on the road?

Happily, comparethesupermerkin’s Simon McMeerkat has been giving the matter some consideration and has come up with a highly original suggestion that is as brilliantly simple as it is simply brilliant:

“Car insurance payments are an unavoidable cost of driving,” Simon says. “However, drivers can avoid paying more than they have to by comparing offers from different insurers and switching to a cheaper policy. To see how much you can save visit [insert web address] to compare quotes from a wide range of car insurance providers and quickly and easily find the right policy to suit your needs.”  

Why didn’t we think of that?!

They're not coming, you know.


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