By Denna Bowman
Soaring energy prices mean families may be forced to choose between heating their home and keeping their car on the road this winter, according to a study by Bridgestone tyres.
A quarter of mothers surveyed by the tyres company (24.4%) made the worrying claim, while 97% of families are considering getting rid of a family car altogether, because they can’t afford to run it. And one in six have already made the sacrifice.
Andy Dingley, Communications Manager at Bridgestone UK, said: “The research was initially carried out to investigate parental attitudes to environmental technologies but the findings have been staggering.
“The high fuel prices at the moment mean that a large proportion of the family wage is spent purely on things like petrol, gas & electricity but with prices increasing faster than the rate of people’s incomes, families are having to make extremely difficult decisions.”
Running a vehicle is central to the daily lives of many parents and offers the flexibility needed to take care of family tasks like the school run and the weekly shop as well as commuting to and from work but with fuel prices ever increasing, and the difficult financial climate, families have been pushed to a tipping point, having to choose between basic human necessities – warmth and the ability to work.
The research also found that two thirds of people are already using their car less in order to save money as they are struggling just to break even after paying out their day to day living costs.
Mr Dingley added: “The balancing act for a family nowadays does not leave much room for manoeuvre financially which can have a knock on effect on people’s peace of mind. This affects every part of people’s lives – including how and when they drive.”
Other findings from the research include the fact that six out of ten mums make their kids walk to and from school and nearly half say they have felt unable to fill up their petrol tank because they are short of cash.
Most reported that they are saving less and nearly half said they often find themselves in their overdraft.