Fuel prices affecting family life

March 13, 2014 | By | In Advice

Almost half of British motorists feel that rising fuel prices are stopping them from seeing their family and friends, according to new research by supermarket Tesco.

As modern life sees families becoming more and more fragmented, and living further apart from each other, drivers are feeling the pinch when it comes to the weekend trips to see nan.

42 per cent of motorists surveyed by Tesco said they felt as though they were missing out on quality time with their relatives, as they struggle to find the spare income to keep their cars on the road.

One in ten respondents stated that they hardly ever visit loved ones, and cited the cost of fuel as a significant cause.

On average, British drivers are spending around £700 more on fuel annually now, compared with a decade ago. And it seems this is set to continue, with almost three quarters of drivers – 72 per cent – claiming that owning a car was either very important or completely essential.

Drivers are spending an average of £700 more on fuel each year, compared to ten years ago

In fact, aside from cutting back on spending time with their families, drivers are also cutting back the amount they are spending on food to save cash, simply to keep the wheels turning.

The survey highlighted the top-ten areas in which motorists are cutting back:

1. Clothing for themselves (30%)
2. Going out (24%)
3. Holidays and weekends away (19%)
4. Food (17%)
5. Homeware (16%)
6. Electrical items (15%)
7. Evening activities e.g. going to the gym, evening classes (12%)
8. Buying birthday presents for a friend/family member (12%)
9. Buying Christmas presents for a friend/family member (11%)
10. Household cleaning products (11%)

Asking others to share the burden is also becoming increasingly common, with 24 per cent admitting that they’d ask passengers to contribute to fuel bills on shared trips.

Despite a plethora of fuel saving promotions being offered by both supermarkets and chain fuel retailers, many find that they cannot take advantage of them, particularly if they require a minimum spend. 31 per cent of motorists polled said they never benefit from such promotions as the terms are too expensive or that promotions don’t apply to items they require.

In response to this Tesco has announced a new cumulative savings scheme, in which Clubcard holders can incrementally save money off fuel, no matter how small their shop.

When buyers reach £50 spend, they will receive 2p off a litre of fuel. Spend £100 and you’ll get 4p off, and so on, rising up to 20p off a litre.

Chris Bush, UK Managing Director of Tesco, said: “Petrol prices are forcing families to make tough choices. By introducing Clubcard Fuel Save, we can do our bit to make everyday life easier. Nearly three in four users who took part in the trial said the savings we’re offering would make a big difference to their budgets. We’re delighted to be rolling this out nationally.”

The RAC’s Pete Williams welcomed the scheme: “The price we pay for fuel makes a massive difference to household budgets. By launching this, Tesco has created one of the most powerful fuel discount schemes we have ever seen as it has the potential to help everyone who shops with them on a regular basis to significantly reduce the amount of money they spend on petrol and diesel every month.”

“This promotion breaks the mould of one-off supermarket fuel discounts based on spending over a certain amount in store. When you consider the average family shopping bill is £323 a month, the 2p a litre discount for every £50 spent could mean some households save 12p a litre on a fill-up each month.”

To highlight the launch of the scheme and bring the initiative to life, Tesco created a bespoke car out of everyday grocery items, pictured above.

Has the cost of fuel forced you to cut back spending in other areas of your life? Have your say below.

Picture: Tesco

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