Bus stop in a rural location

by Spreet Aulakh 6th July 2018

Owning a vehicle considered essential for everyday life

74% of people say having a car is essential to their everyday life, with this number rising to 83% for those living in rural areas, according to a new Opinium* survey.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the over 75 age group feels this most strongly with 79% citing a dependence on their car.

From commuting to work, to shopping and visiting family and friends, over three quarters (76%) say they would be held back from travelling somewhere if they didn’t have a car (up to 86% in rural areas).

The survey, commissioned by InsuretheGap.com, found that almost a third (31%) of respondents cannot get to work without a car (38% for rural areas).

Without a car, 51% would not be able to visit their family, 27% go to the doctors and 8% unable to get their children to school. Again, these numbers increase for those who live in rural areas, with 63% saying they would struggle to get food shopping without a car (compared to the average number of 45%), and 47% to get to a train station or airport (versus 24% on average).

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The survey also revealed that public transport is not a suitable replacement for a car for many. Almost half (47%) say that public transport in their area is unreliable or is sporadic. This is most likely to be the case in the East of England (60%), followed by Wales (58%), the South West (55%) and East Midlands (53%).

Londoners are the most satisfied with their public transport options, with only 20% saying it was not reliable or patchy (and 58% disagreeing). These may not come as much of a surprise considering London receives significantly more public funding towards its transport system than other regions in the UK. Only 60% of Londoners agreed with the statement that having a car is essential to their everyday lives.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) there are 34.7 million cars on UK roads, up 12% in the past 10 years. The top ten models sold in 2017 were the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Corsa, Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Astra, Volkswagen Polo, MINI, Renault Clio, Toyota Yaris and BMW 3 Series.

“Our love affair with cars is not going to end anytime soon, particularly when over 80% of people also admitted to loving their cars in this survey,” said Ben Wooltorton, Chief Operating Office of InsuretheGap.com. “However, it seems that for many owning a car is an absolute necessity just to complete everyday activities and what’s more with the UK’s public transport system creaking at the seams it’s hard to believe that this won’t be the case for a long time to come.”

*Research was conducted online by Opinium research amongst 2,001 adults who drive and have owned a car between 10 – 15 January 2018.