Motoring | Posted: Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 at 1:24 pm |
The newly-launched Confused.com weekly fuel price index reveals the year-on-year prices of petrol and diesel are up 7% (+7.6p) and 6% (+7.2p) compared to last September, yet many drivers are unconvinced about switching to electric for their next car saying there are not enough charge points in their area.
The scale, though, says Confused.com is starting to tip, as hybrid is the second most popular fuel type for new car buyers (21%), more popular than diesel (12%).
As the cost of filling the tank rises, UK drivers are split on government plans to ban the sale of petrol- and diesel-fuelled vehicles by 2040. According to new research, over a quarter (28%) of drivers disagree with the ban, while a further 28% are positive about the proposals.
But despite surging fuel costs and the proposed ban on selling petrol and diesel cars, research from the driver savings site reveals almost eight in 10 (79%) of motorists are not convinced about buying an electric car as their next vehicle.
One local company director in Ferndown said: “I recently bought a new car and considered a hybrid, but there just weren’t many to choose from and the price was not attractive at the time. If the purchase price had been lower, I might have looked into it with more enthusiasm. I was also concerned about where I could charge it up and how long that would take. We all know how quickly technology advances, so I have decided to see what happens over the next five or six years before considering an electric vehicle. I did switch from diesel to petrol though.”
Decisions like this are made daily, even though it is widely acknowledged electric-powered cars are far cheaper to run than their fossil-fuelled predecessors. This is also despite a wave of car companies, such as Volvo, Uber and Jaguar, announcing they will be adopting the electric approach as early as 2019 – much sooner than the 2040 deadline.
Like the Ferndown company director, the biggest concern among drivers is that there are not enough places to charge their car in their local area (60%), even though there are over 3,800 electric charge points across the UK. Other high-ranking concerns include worries about how long the power will last (56%), length of charging times (50%) and expensive upfront costs (54%). A further two in five (41%) are holding on until the technology improves.
But it seems that for those who disagree with the ban on selling new petrol and diesel vehicles, their reasoning is not necessarily because they oppose electric cars per se. Confused.com’s survey also found that two in five (42%) openly admit their dislike for electric vehicles, many more seem to object to having restrictions imposed upon them by government. Almost seven in 10 (65%) claim they should be able to buy whichever fuel type they want. And some drivers simply don’t believe the ban will benefit the environment (40%) or improve air quality (33%).
On the other hand, those who are in favour of the ban are more positive about the environmental (87%) and air quality (80%) benefits. While almost six in 10 (58%) actually think it will have the desired effect and encourage people to start adopting electric vehicles.
While drivers have their reasons for holding off on an electric car purchase, they’re paying the price as fuel becomes more expensive over time. To fill the tank of your average medium-sized car (57 litres), drivers can now expect to pay £68.17 for petrol and £68.69 for diesel. This is £4.33 and £4.11 pricier than it was a year ago (September 2016), and this rising expense certainly adds up over time and makes a significant dent in a driver’s annual fuel bill.
Drivers’ reticence to adopt electric vehicles is even more surprising given that the price of fuel is their biggest motoring cost concern (32%), with more than six in 10 (64%) revealing they spend more on their monthly fuel bill than they do on car insurance. However, even though some are showing reluctance towards new fuel types, the scales may be starting to tip. The majority of motorists say they would opt for a petrol-powered car as their next vehicle (43%), but hybrids come in at second place (21%) and are now more popular than diesel. In fact, diesel cars are the preferred fuel choice among just over one in 10 (12%) drivers. However, electric vehicles are still the least popular, with only 7% saying they’d be most likely to choose this fuel type.
It’s clear the proposed ban on selling new diesel and petrol vehicles has had a mixed reception from motorists, but few seem to be in favour of more drastic rules. Six in 10 (59%) drivers think it will take a long time for all motorists to adopt electric cars, especially if the ban is only imposed on the sale of new vehicles. But just one in seven (16%) think that the ban should be extended to include used cars. And less than 10% (9%) think all drivers should be forced to purchase an electric vehicle as their next car.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “The 2040 ban on selling petrol and diesel vehicles certainly has drivers divided. We expect many are still unconvinced about going electric because it sounds like it’s such a long way off. But it could come around much sooner as major manufacturers start to commit to electric as early as 2019.
“Drivers could be missing a trick by not switching to new fuel types. Diesel and petrol prices are continuing to show an upward curve, impacted in the short term by events such as Storm Harvey and the rising cost in the price per barrel.
“Unfortunately motorists will see this reflected in the extra pounds they will need to fork out to fill up their tanks. Drivers should keep an eye on the cost of fuel in their local area and find the cheapest place to fill up using Confused.com’s petrol prices tool.
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