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Thursday
Mar272014

Rising cost of motoring hits Britain’s poorest drivers

A rising cost of motoring is beginning to hit Britain’s poorest drivers, with 800,000 motorists spending at least 31 per cent of their disposable income on buying and running a vehicle, according to figures recently released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Our nation’s poorest drivers, including the lowest 10 per cent of households in the UK, spend £51.40 a week buying and running a car, including £16.40 on buying fuel, £9.50 on insurance and £6.10 on repairs, out of a total weekly budget of just £167.

The RAC Foundation says that the average spend on motoring across all car-owning households is around 15 per cent of total expenditure, almost half of that of the poorest households.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “For the poorest car owners, there is little opportunity to cut motoring costs further. They’ll already be driving as little as they can and will have cut back on things like maintenance.”

A recent survey by Moneysupermarket.com found that 43 per cent of respondents had to reduce how much they drive because of rising costs, while 6 per cent were forced to give up their cars completely.

The ONS’ figures show that motoring costs have risen well above the cost of living over the past ten years, as shown by the graph below:

While the purchasing price of vehicles has been fairly flat, the price of petrol has continued to rise, as a result of higher oil costs and a diminishing global supply. However, petrol prices recently fell to a three-year low, with diesel dipping below the 130p per litre barrier for the first time since 2011.

Tax and insurance have also grown rapidly, with the Government hoping to increase revenues and insurers reacting from growth in risk and claims.  In 2009-10, Government revenue from fuel duty amounted to a whopping £29 billion, around 6 per cent of total revenue.

One way for motorists to reduce their monthly outgoings is to invest in ultra-low carbon technology, particularly electric-powered vehicles, whose fuel is around a sixth the price of petrol, while being exempt from car tax and congestion charges.

Although the cost of electric vehicles is higher than conventional petrol engines, as a result of the low numbers currently manufactured - The Nissan Leaf is currently available from around £20,000, with the Government providing a £5,000 subsidy – buyers usually recoup their costs fairly quickly.

If you are thinking about investing in a new vehicle, why not take advantage of ASM’s scrap and recycling services, allowing you to exchange your old vehicle for cash.

Friday
Mar212014

Budget 2014 – what does it mean for motorists?

The Chancellor’s new budget has outlined a number of new measures which should help motorists this year.

As expected, fuel duty will be frozen until spring 2015, with the planned rise in September being abandoned. George Osborne has said this will make petrol 20 pence per litre cheaper on average than it would have been under Labour.

The Budget also confirmed increases to excise duty in line with inflation, so from April 1 bands from D upwards will see their costs increase by £5 or more.

Drivers will also be able to pay for their vehicle duty monthly, biannually or annually from October 1 2014, with tax being non-transferable on vehicles when sold.

A £200m fund has also been made available to local authorities for the repair of potholes, which was tentatively welcomed by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM):

“Every little helps and it will be welcomed in many areas hit by this year’s bad weather,” said Neil Greig, IAM’s director of policy and research. “With a ten billion pound back log in repairs, however, it is only through consistent long-term funding that the pothole problem can finally be fixed.”

The RAC argues that more wide-scale refurbishment of our roads is required:

“We need whole stretches of road to be resurfaced regularly rather than just patching them when they start to fall apart, costing taxpayers more and more money every year.

“Simply filling potholes is a massive false economy which has now unfortunately become necessity. We really need to put an end to this by making sure roads are never allowed to degenerate to the point where potholes develop,” said David Bizley, the organisation's technical director.

In the same vein as last year’s budget, the exemption in excise duty for classic cars will move to a 40-year rolling period, taking effect from April 1, with models like the Reliant Robin being exempt from tax. In the past, only cars built before January 1973 were exempt, after the Government abandoned the previous 25-year rolling scale in 1997.

The Chancellor also confirmed that a 2 per cent rise in company car tax would be extended to 2017 and 2018, although ultra-low emission vehicles would receive an increase in discounts, with a reduction in the rate of fuel duty for methanol.

The AA’s president, Edmund King, said the freeze on duty, for a fourth year, was “very welcome relief for UK drivers”.

“The freeze still leaves the squeeze on families and businesses that rely on four wheels to function and prosper,” he added.

“Now that we know, from official figures, that inflation-hit earnings are effectively at 2002 levels and car use is struggling to revive, perhaps a short-term cut in fuel duty would have got the UK properly mobile again.”

You can watch the budget in 90 seconds below:

If this year’s budget has inspired you to begin looking for a new car, why not trade-in your old vehicle using our recycling and scrapping services?

Thursday
Feb272014

Majority of drivers fear a crash is just around the corner

79 per cent of drivers are worried about driving, feeling that a crash could be just around the corner, according to a recent survey.

This ‘Accident Anxiety’ is mostly caused by tailgating (45 per cent), road rage (41 per cent) and uninsured drivers (29 per cent), which, put together, are responsible for killing 130 people and injuring another 26,500 every year.

The majority (81 per cent) of those surveyed have opted out of making a journey as a result of their worries. 83 per cent of drivers aged 35-44 years old are affected in one way or another, the highest of any age group. Female respondents were more likely to see this anxiety affect their driving style (27 per cent) compared with males (17 per cent).

Jon Dye, CEO of Allianz Insurance, which conducted the research, said: “It’s worrying to see that so many motorists feel they will have an accident, and yet so few feel more driver training would help. Drivers can only drive at their best if they feel calm and alert and not unduly worried about what other motorists are getting up to.

“Tailgating, ‘road rage’ and uninsured drivers can all cause accidents and contribute to the claims costs faced by insurers at a time when the industry is looking to bring down premiums in a sensible way for customers.”  

James Gibson of Road Safety GB said: “The Allianz research shows that ‘Accident Anxiety’ is prevalent among the drivers surveyed. Actions like tailgating and aggressive driving behaviour can be particularly intimidating. Motorists need to find ways of coping with the actions of others when they get behind the wheel.

“The best advice is not to react to the aggressive and inconsiderate behaviour of others as this can cause a collision. If you are being tailgated it is best to recognise that some drivers are intent on overtaking and the best way to deal with this is to simply allow them to pass when it’s safe to do so. It can be useful to think about the things that cause you stress and anxiety and develop strategies to cope before you start a journey."

Despite this anxiety, new figures released by the Department of Transport (DfT) have shown a 2 per cent drop in the number of fatalities on our roads from September 2012-13, with a larger 6 per cent fall when taking into account cases of serious injury.

It is estimated that up to one-in-three people who are killed or seriously injured on our roads are driving to work at the time of their accident.

Laura Woods, from Brake, said: “Every casualty on our roads is a needless, preventable tragedy, so we must aim for zero because no death or serious injury is acceptable. Companies that employ drivers have an important role to play in reducing these figures further.”

If you have anxiety over selling your used car, why not let ASM Auto Recycling take the hassle out of the process by providing you with a free quotation now.

Tuesday
Feb252014

New green fuel isn’t efficient, says What Car?

A green petrol, which will meet EU environmental regulations, is not as efficient as our current blends of renewable fuels, and could even cause an increase in CO2 exhaust emissions, according to tests carried out by What Car? magazine.

The E10 fuel contains 10 per cent bio-ethanol and is being rolled-out across the UK as part of the Government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions; aligned with the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive which requires 10 per cent of road transport energy to be sourced from renewable sources by 2020.

A recent test by What Car? magazine has shown that E10 is actually less efficient than the current E5 blend, which uses only 5 per cent of bio ethanol; requiring more fuel to power the vehicle and costing drivers more per annum.

Chas Hallett of What Car? says the Government should carry out comprehensive testing of the fuel prior to it being released, in order to fully understand its long term costs to motorists:

"The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the detrimental effect of E10 on fuel economy is between three and four percent, but even our small sample of tests proves otherwise," he said.

"To lead consumers into E10 without fully communicating the significant impact on fuel economy, particularly for drivers least able to absorb the extra costs, is irresponsible."

What Car? Tested E10 against pure petrol, comparing the results against a range of American biofuel blends using four different vehicles, with efficiency levels falling by 11.5 per cent and 9.8 per cent in the Dacia Sandero and Hyundai respectively.

It is likely that larger cars will be able to cope better with the fuel, leaving drivers on smaller vehicles - often with smaller budgets - worse off.

Exhaust emissions also increased in every vehicle, although it can be argued that this will be offset by the renewable properties of bio-ethanol, with the crops used to produce the fuel absorbing CO2 whilst growing.

If you are looking to upgrade your vehicle with an ultra-low carbon alternative, why not use our recycling and scappage services?

Thursday
Jan302014

Smoking in cars with children to be banned

Smoking in cars with children present could soon become illegal in a bid to save lives.

Peers will soon be voting on the issue, with a ban already in place in America, Australia, Canada and some areas of Europe.

Shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, said: "When it comes to improving the health of children, we are duty bound to consider any measure that might make a difference.

"Adults are free to make their own choices but that often does not apply to children and that's why society has an obligation to protect them from preventable harm.

"Evidence from other countries shows that stopping smoking in the confined space of a car carrying children can prevent damage to their health and has strong public support."

Pro-smoking groups, however, disagree, insisting that most adult smokers do not smoke when they are in a car with children, seeing the proposal as a ‘stealth’ ban, which will eventually lead to smoking being banned in people’s homes:

"I think this legislation is very heavy-handed, totally unnecessary and according to surveys, 84 per cent of adults wouldn't dream of lighting a cigarette in a car, in a small enclosed space with a child present,” said Simon Clark, director of Forest.

"So adults already know how to behave, they don't need the state interfering in their lives like this. If there are still some people who smoke in a car with children, then let’s educate them, but let’s not legislate.

"It's almost going to be impossible to enforce anyway and the danger is that the police will have to ban smoking in all cars.

"We could have a situation where a lone driver, in his own car, will be committing an offence by lighting a cigarette and what's the next logical step after that? Are we going to ban smoking in the home as well if children are present?"

A YouGov poll shows that 78 per cent of adults in the UK agree that banning smoking in cars with children younger than 18 would be beneficial, with 44 per cent saying smoking should be banned in cars full stop.

Professor Robert West, from UCL, explains the dangers of second-hand tobacco smoke:

"We know that the smoke is toxic, we know that the smoke has carcinogens in it. If you imagine someone lighting up a cigarette in a club let’s say, you would know about it within seconds the other side of the room; in a car it is a much more confined space.

"If you can smell smoke you are being exposed to carcinogens, so you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that even if you are trying to smoke out the window the child in the back is going to be exposed to carcinogens."

If you would like to upgrade your old smoky vehicle with a nice new model, contact ASM Autos today, who may able to arrange the retrieval and recycling of your existing vehicle.