British parents are spending a collective £51.2 million each year on driving children one mile or less to school, according to research conducted by pay-and-drive car club Zipcar.

This equates to 1.2 million cars on the roads each day during peak hours, burning through enough petrol to fund an astonishing 47 primary schools for an entire year.

Unveiling its findings on the launch of National Walk to School Week, Zipcar found that the worst offenders for unnecessarily driving to school are parents in Scotland, with 60 per cent regularly hopping in the car for extremely short journeys.

Despite facing the most congested roads in the UK, parents in London are no better, with 50 per cent admitting to grabbing the car keys on the way out of the door.

Most likely to shun the car are the Welsh, with not one single respondent saying they drive their children a mile or less to school.

In total, 30 per cent of parents (1.9 million) with school age children drive them to school on a daily basis, compared with 25 per cent (1.6 million) who walk. Despite this, 45 per cent of parents are concerned that their children aren’t getting enough exercise.

On top of this, the majority of those who drive admit that the school run is a nightmare, with difficulty parking, arguments, traffic and even collisions cited as regular occurrences.

Mark Walker, general manager at Zipcar UK, said: “There’s an astounding 27.5 million cars on Britain’s roads and 32 per cent of households in the UK have two or more cars. But for many the economics of ownership just don’t add up, especially when you consider that the average car spends 96 per cent of its life parked.”

Picture: Fotolia