Britain is more dependent than ever on cars, according to a study published today. Even the poorest families are increasingly reliant on them, and when motoring costs rise they prefer to sacrifice other household spending rather than stop driving.
The number of cars has grown seven times faster than the population. There are 29.6 million cars, up 30 per cent from a decade ago. Over the same period the population has grown by 4 per cent to 60.6 million. The RAC Foundation commissioned a team of academics from Oxford University, Imperial College and University College London to investigate how reliant Britons were on their cars.
They found that people opted for them even for journeys that could easily be walked or cycled and were used for 78 per cent of journeys of two to three miles. Just over three quarters of homes had a car and ownership had grown fastest among the poorest fifth of households, up from 35 per cent in 2000 to 49 per cent in 2006.
As the study is funded by the RAC it naturally concludes with a bogus ‘Green’ message:
There is no question of getting rid of cars. Instead we must change the type of cars we use — smaller, lighter, more fuel-efficient models with less CO2 emissions.