Car costs hit low-income families hardest, says RAC

December 11, 2008 | By | In Statistics

Govt is wrong to tax road fuel as if it were a luxury, says RAC Foundation's directorFuel prices may have dropped. But the cost of filling the tank still hits the less well-off too hard, says the RAC.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, explained that, just like everyone else, low-income earners need to travel to work, shops and schools. Using buses and trains can be costly and take too long. And, as cars have grown cheaper, they have become as attractive to low earners as they are to the well-off.

And while the price of road fuel remains important for most UK households, poorer households are particularly hard hit because they travel just as much as their richer neighbours. While car travel might still be considered the preserve of the wealthy, two-thirds of the UK’s rail travel is completed by people in the top two income groups.

Prof Glaister, speaking today to a conference on transport and social exclusion, said a policy on increasing road tax charges for larger and high-polluting cars would hit those on lower incomes, who are unable to reqadily afford the switch to smaller, less polluting alternatives.

‘Fuel should not be priced as a luxury because car travel is essential, regardless of income,’ he said.

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