Fuel Consumption close to pre-Covid levels

Fuel Consumption close to pre-Covid levels

Petrol and diesel consumption was almost back to pre-Covid levels in May and June despite the high prices at the pumps.

The latest figures from HMRC reveal that petrol consumption in May and June this year was just 0.3% less than in May and June 2019, and diesel consumption was just 0.5% down on the 2019 figures.

Changing Attitudes to Travel

While prices remain high, motorists have been changing the way they travel. The AA surveyed over 15,000 members in July and found that many had changed their driving habits to cut costs.

Around 23% of respondents to the survey said they had been unaffected by the high fuel prices. However, 77% of drivers had taken steps to afford to keep driving, with 31% saying they had adopted fuel-saving techniques and 29% saying they were planning their journeys more by combining errands into one trip. Interestingly, only 2% of those surveyed said they had replaced using the car with cycling or walking. Around 11% of drivers were using public transport instead.

The AA’s fuel price spokesman, Luke Bosdet said, “If large numbers of people have become comfortable with leaving their cars on their driveways and walking around to local shops…then that is a big and hopefully enduring silver lining from what’s been going on with fuel prices.

“Drivers are getting bombarded with this sort of advice, whether it’s to help the environment by using less fuel, or whether it’s a matter of financial survival. They’ve now had to put this into practice.”

Mr Bosdet added that for certain journeys, people have “no option but to stick with the car”.

New Car Registrations July 2022

New Car Registrations July 2022

UK new car registrations fell for the fifth consecutive month in July, with a 9.0% reduction to 112,162 units, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). In July 2021, there were 123,296 new car registrations.

According to the SMMT, global supply chain issues, predominantly the lack of semiconductors, continued to frustrate order fulfilment. Covid lockdowns exacerbated this in critical manufacturing and logistics centres in China, plus disruption from the war in Ukraine, which restricted production output and supplies into the UK new car market.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) continued to be the best performers in growth terms, up 9.9% to 12,243 units to achieve a 10.9% market share for the month. However, this is the weakest monthly uplift recorded by BEVs since the pandemic; overall growth in the year has reached 49.9% to deliver a 13.9% market share for the year-to-date.

July was a weaker month for hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) uptake, with registrations falling 6.7% to take 12.2% of the market. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) fell 34.0%, cutting their market share to 5.8%.

Petrol cars still dominate the market, but sales in July were down 7.2% to 51,294 and a market share of 45.7%. Diesel cars continued their decline with sales of 6,210, down 29.3% on the year and a market share half the size of BEVs at 5.5%.

In July, the top three selling cars were the Nissan Qashqai, MINI and Hyundai Tucson. So far this year, the Vauxhall Corsa is the best-selling new car in the UK

The SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The automotive sector has had another tough month and is drawing on its fundamental resilience during a third consecutive challenging year as the squeeze on supply bedevils deliveries. While order books are strong, we need a healthy market to ensure the sector delivers the carbon savings government ambitions demand. The next Prime Minister must create the conditions for economic growth, restore consumer confidence and support the transition to zero emission mobility.”

One in three motorists plan to sell their vehicle in the next six months because of the ULEZ expansion

One in three motorists plan to sell their vehicle in the next six months because of the ULEZ expansion

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Research commissioned by online used-car marketplace Motorway has revealed that one in three (36%) Londoners plan to sell their vehicle in the next six months because of the proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) extension alongside the rising cost of living.

The London ULEZ was introduced in April 2019, covering an area in Central London. In October 2021, this expanded to cover a much wider inner London Area between the North and South Circular roads. In the second half of 2023 this will be expanded to cover all of Greater London, affecting most petrol cars manufactured before 2006 and diesel cars manufactured before 2015. Buses, coaches and lorries must meet or exceed Euro 6 standards. Charges are £12.50 for cars, vans and motorbikes and £100 for buses, lorries and coaches.

Londoners are increasingly concerned about the expansion, with three in five admitting they are worried about how it will affect their finances. Two-thirds of those surveyed can’t afford to switch to an electric vehicle or compliant petrol car.

According to data from Motorway’s ULEZ compliance checker, Mercedes and Land Rover are the most likely to be non-compliant with vehicles facing fines. Research also uncovered that 39% of Londoners sold their car when ULEZ was initially introduced, and with plans of an expansion on the horizon, many more could follow suit.

When asked about the reasons for selling their petrol or diesel car, half (47%) of Londoners said they would sell to buy an electric vehicle in light of the potential expansion of ULEZ. However, due to the rising cost of living, many will be unable to make this switch.

The data reveals that a third (36%) of those in the capital are unaware the ULEZ could be expanded by August 2023.

Alex Buttle, co-founder of online used-car marketplace Motorway said: “The cost of petrol and diesel, along with the cost of living, are rising fast. This coupled with the extension of the ULEZ in London, means more urban drivers are questioning their current car and driving habits. We’ve seen a 21% rise in diesel cars being sold on Motorway since last month and the research revealed many more motorists will be looking to sell in the next six months due to the likely expansion of ULEZ to cover the whole of the city. 

Check if your car is ULEZ compliant

To check if your car is ULEZ compliant, visit https://motorway.co.uk/ulez-checker

Research conducted in July 2022 by Censuswide with a sample of 1,000 British car owners aged 18+ from London and Greater London.

Do I need breakdown cover?

Do I need breakdown cover?

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With the price of pretty much everything rising right now, many of us are looking for ways we can save money on our expenditures.

One cost you may be considering is whether you actually need breakdown cover for your vehicle.

Do I need breakdown cover for a new car?

Most brand new cars usually include breakdown cover for a certain period (usually between one to three years).

However, some nearly new but used cars will not include breakdown cover as some car manufacturers don’t let the breakdown cover transfer with the car, whilst the purchase of many used cars will not include breakdown cover as standard.

Whether you have recently purchased a vehicle and are contemplating buying breakdown cover, or you are wondering whether to renew your current vehicle breakdown cover when your policy runs out, one of the UK’s leading breakdown cover providers, Start Rescue is encouraging drivers to consider their options carefully.

The importance of breakdown cover

Start Rescue, is urging motorists to consider the cost implications, should they suffer a breakdown without suitable cover in place.

Lee Puffett, Managing Director for Start Rescue explains: “Whether you’re on a motorway, in town, out in the countryside or even at home, breaking down is stressful.

If you don’t have breakdown cover, it can be expensive to sort out. Towing fees, repairs – even overnight accommodation – the costs can quickly add up.

Having breakdown cover not only offers peace of mind that you will be rescued in the event of a breakdown, but you’ll also be covered for some or all of the additional costs associated with breaking down, depending on the policy you buy.”

Shop around for breakdown cover

With this in mind, rather than taking the chance and cutting your breakdown provision entirely, why not shop around for an alternative provider to your current breakdown company, which could save you money instead.

Did you know there are different types of breakdown providers?

Not all drivers are aware that there are two main kinds of vehicle recovery providers operating in the UK today.

Aside from the motoring associations with their own fleet of vehicles and employees, breakdown recovery providers also exist who operate by harnessing a UK-wide network of independent vehicle recovery operatives (VROs).

As with motoring associations, members of these vehicle breakdown organisations contact the provider’s call centre, which then locates the nearest specialist operative and sends them to the scene of the breakdown.

In practice, both types of breakdown providers aim to get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

However, operators who run their own fleet (motoring associations) may not always have a vehicle near a particular breakdown scene, which can increase the wait time for customers

Breakdown cover providers such as Start Rescue work directly with carefully selected and experienced recovery operators across the UK. Through operating such a model, they have the connections to despatch an experienced recovery operative quickly – one who knows the local area well and is ideally placed to get you back on the road as soon as possible.

Are you getting the best value for money with the AA, RAC or Green Flag?

For a service that hopefully you won’t have to use many times in a year, are you sure you are getting the best price for breakdown cover from your current provider?

What breakdown cover do I need?

As you’re no doubt aware, breakdown cover providers generally offer varying levels of cover, to meet your personal needs for your breakdown cover.

Which? Recommended Provider, Start Rescue, has affordable breakdown cover options which include unlimited callouts, misfuel cover and accident recovery all as standard. Their most popular 3 Star cover option has been rated five stars by Defaqto. Their Three Star cover also includes Home Assist, so should your vehicle not start at home, they will be able to come and assist you. In comparison to competitors, Start Rescue policies can offer you considerable savings.

Breakdown cover price comparison based on 3 Star Cover*

Breakdown cover price comparison based on 3 Star Cover* £30.80 per year with Start Rescue

Wondering ‘Do I need European breakdown cover?’

Perhaps you’re planning a trip across the Channel this summer and thinking ‘do I need breakdown cover in France?’

Whilst, as in the UK, breakdown cover is not compulsory for driving in France or other European countries, should you suffer a breakdown, the peace of mind from having European breakdown cover in place can prove invaluable.
Start Rescue’s Four and Five Star policies include European Cover as well as UK Nationwide recovery, covering you in over 40 countries.

How good is Start Rescue’s Breakdown Cover?

As well as saving you money, Start Rescue’s affordable policies are also backed up by an impressive level of service.

Testimony to the value and reliability a Start Rescue breakdown cover policy can provide customers, is the fact that the company is rated as excellent on Trustpilot and has been a Which? Recommended Provider for breakdown cover 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Start Rescue’s cheapest policy starts from just £19.75** per year, so at a time when we are all trying to save money, this seems like the right time to compare your current provider and see if Start Rescue can beat it.

* All competitor prices have been based on Start Rescue’s most popular 3-star level of cover for a vehicle aged up to 5 years-old. Cover includes nationwide recovery, home assistance, alternative transport, overnight accommodation and key assist. Last updated 30/06/2022.

** The price of your policy will depend on the age of your vehicle and the level of cover you choose.

Hydrogen Vehicle Numbers Set to Increase

Hydrogen Vehicle Numbers Set to Increase

The number of hydrogen vehicles in service globally could increase dramatically over the next five years. Currently, there are around 60,000 hydrogen vehicles on the read. According to a new study, this will increase to one million by the end of 2027.

The report by Juniper Research identified hydrogen vehicles as an increasingly viable alternative to battery electric vehicles (EVs). It found that the potential for enhanced range and rapid refuelling compared favourably with EVs, reducing customer anxieties around EV ownership.

Advantages of Hydrogen Vehicles over Electric Vehicles

The report identified several advantages hydrogen vehicles have over electric vehicles, including:

• Hydrogen can be pumped using the existing network of petrol stations.

• Hydrogen vehicles can achieve longer distances because they densely pack their energy storage.

• Filling up a hydrogen vehicle takes a few minutes compared to EVs, which can take several hours to charge.

The report says the limitations of EVs are highlighted by the existence of hybrid vehicles in many commercial sectors. Buses, trains, and trucks are widely available as diesel-electric hybrids; proving that based on current technology, EVs are not up to providing a mass transit solution.

Additionally, hydrogen is being touted as an alternative to EVs because EVs use large, heavy, expensive batteries that require rare earth metals such as cobalt, nickel, and lithium. As much as hydrogen requires platinum in production, it is needed only in production centres and far smaller quantities. Research on finding an alternative to platinum is also at an advanced stage.

Juniper Research defines hydrogen vehicles as vehicles that use hydrogen propulsion systems as their onboard fuel. The chemical energy of hydrogen and oxygen reacts with the fuel cell and converts the energy to electricity.

The number of hydrogen vehicles in service globally could increase dramatically over the next five years. Currently, there are around 60,000 hydrogen vehicles on the read. According to a new study, this will increase to one million by the end of 2027.

Hydrogen Vehicle Development

The report claims that several major vehicle manufacturers, including BMW and Audi, believe that a change in the political atmosphere could favour hydrogen vehicles over EVs. Both manufacturers are developing hydrogen fuel cell prototypes in addition to EVs as part of preparations to phase out fossil fuels.

Japanese carmakers Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and South Korea’s Hyundai were the only manufacturers developing and pushing for hydrogen fuel cell cars for years. Now China is expanding its hydrogen fuelling infrastructure, and the EU wants to build more hydrogen fuelling stations for commercial vehicles.

The research forecasts that the consumers will lead the hydrogen vehicles market, with consumer vehicles accounting for over 60% of hydrogen vehicles globally in 2027. The report identified the emerging development stage of many commercial vehicle types and the high average cost of hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles as critical factors limiting the market’s potential growth.

Research co-author Olivia Williams explained, “Manufacturers will need to make hydrogen vehicles more affordable to become viable for fleets, but increased range and suitability for heavy goods transport will ultimately drive growth and economies of scale.”

Additionally, the report identified the low availability of fuelling infrastructure as a critical challenge for broader adoption. Still, it highlighted heavy industry investment as key to reducing this concern over the next five years. The report recommends that infrastructure vendors provide ‘green’ hydrogen, produced using renewable energy sources, to best take advantage of environmental concerns driving the adoption of alternative fuels.

Consultation announced on banning sales of fossil-fuelled motorbikes and mopeds

Consultation announced on banning sales of fossil-fuelled motorbikes and mopeds

Last week, the UK government marked the first anniversary of its transport decarbonisation plan by unveiling proposals to phase out the sale of new fossil-fuelled motorbikes and mopeds by 2035, or even earlier, for some vehicles.

The government is already committed to phasing out fossil fuel use across road transport, with sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans ending in 2030; all new cars, vans, and trucks of 26 tonnes and under being zero emission by 2035; with 2040 as a backstop for all new road vehicles.

In a consultation that ends on 21st September 2022, it has proposed ending sales of non-zero-emission L-category vehicle sales by 2035 and 2030 for other specified vehicles.

L-category vehicles are a classification of lightweight vehicles (PLVs) with two, three, or four wheels separated into seven groups. The groups are based on weight, power output, number of wheels, and seating layout. L-category vehicles include mopeds, motorcycles, motor tricycles, quad bikes, and quadricycles.

L-category vehicles make up around 3.3% of licensed vehicles in the UK and are responsible for just 0.4% of transport’s greenhouse gas emissions.

In her foreword to the consultation document, Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: “Zero-emission L-category vehicles are now hitting the market in increasing numbers. These vehicles have a wide range of uses – whether that’s to bring deliveries to your door in minutes; to travel the open roads on longer leisure trips, or to open up a whole range of educational and employment opportunities to those in the most disadvantaged communities. I am determined to further develop the electric capability of the UK’s iconic motorcycle industry which will open up the opportunity for new skilled manufacturing jobs across the UK.

Concerns raised by motorcycle organisations

Despite promises of further funding from the government to help with the change, the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) has criticised the plans.

“The government has not considered the complexities of the L-Category sector in terms of what is and isn’t feasible when it comes to phasing out the other key segments of the market,” MCIA Chief Executive Tony Campbell said.

“The MCIA and its members will be continuing to push the case for why large capacity motorcycles need more time to phase out and are looking forward to fully engaging with the consultation process to ensure the best outcome for the industry”.

The National Motorcyclists Council (NMC) was also concerned. NMC Executive Director Craig Carey-Clinch said: “The Government’s ambitions in this area are clearly running ahead of what may be reasonable to deliver. Successful transition in any field requires those affected to be content with changes proposed. In the case of zero emission motorcycles, particularly in the premium market segments, current product availability, price point, the current state of electric bike technology and rider acceptability, suggests that much more will need to happen before a reasonable target date for full zero-emission new production can be established.”

Gulf Oomph Rewards

Gulf Oomph Rewards

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An award-winning loyalty scheme, Oomph would be one of the loyalty schemes available to drivers offering a points-based system.

What do I get for joining Gulf Oomph Rewards?

1 point for every litre of unleaded/diesel

2 points for every litre of Endurance Super Premium fuel

1 point for every £1 spent in-store

10 points for selected car washes

20 points for any Gulf branded lubricant

 

Oomph is a generous points collecting scheme, and allows customers to enter monthly prize draws to win top prizes. Previous competitions have included prizes such as F1 merchandise Bundles, Apple Tech Bundles, and family holidays all around the world. You can read about previous winners here.

Points can also be donated to your local sites chosen charity. So far Gulf has given away £70,000 to local groups and charities across the country. Previous winners can be found here.

 

Sign up here

Smart Motorway Cameras Concerns

Smart Motorway Cameras Concerns

This week, a new stretch of smart motorway opened on the M4, running 15 miles from Junction 8/9 at Maidenhead to Junction 3 at Hayes, West London. National Highways said that the cones and barriers in place during the works that started in 2018 would be lifted by early morning on the 16th July. This is the final part of an £848 million upgrade to turn this busy stretch of the M4 into a smart motorway.

In an earlier article about smart motorways, we detailed initial concerns about possible preventable accidents that had led to a pause in the rollout whilst evidence was gathered to see if they are safe or not for drivers.

Stopped Vehicle Detection (SVD) Camera Failures

In the meantime, an internal report obtained via freedom of information has found that technology on smart motorways is failing to detect nearly four in ten broken-down vehicles within a time limit considered safe by senior transport managers.

The technology in question is Stopped Vehicle Detection (SVD). The report stated that SVD is flagging only 62 per cent of those stranded in live traffic within 20 seconds. According to the unpublished 2019 report obtained by the Daily Mail under the Freedom of Information Act, this is the time frame deemed acceptable by the roads agency National Highways. This is particularly concerning when vehicles break down on all-lane running (ALR) smart motorways with no hard shoulders, and stranded vehicles and their passengers risk being hit by other vehicles.

The study also found that a fifth of SVD alerts are wrong even though the target is that they are incorrect in no more than 15 per cent of cases. The errors highlighted included flagging breakdowns on the opposite carriageway to where they happened.

The Daily Mail reported Jack Cousens of the AA saying, “ …smart motorways were sold to the public by National Highways on the basis that if the worst happens, we will find you and keep you safe. Shockingly, drivers are sitting ducks for longer than they should be. These figures show the system is woefully inadequate.”

In its 2022 stocktake report the Highways Agency stated, “It should be noted that the impact of the measures we have delivered as part of the 2020 Action Plan, such as introducing more SVD and enabling increased enforcement of Red X signals, is not reflected in the latest safety data. It will not be possible to assess the impact of these measures until at least late 2023 when some of this data will start to be available.”

Tinkerbell is the most popular name for a first car in 2022

Tinkerbell is the most popular name for a first car in 2022

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Research commissioned by online used-car marketplace Motorway.co.uk shows just how important a first car can be, with three-quarters of car owners admitting their first car still holds fond and special memories. In fact, over a third of respondents claim their first vehicle has its own personality, with nearly half naming their beloved first car.

When it comes to choosing a name, nearly a quarter of car owners choose this to match the make of car; 20% base it on the colour of the car and 19% name their cars after someone they know. The top 10 most popular names for first cars in 2022 include:

 

  1. Tinkerbell (17%)
  2. Peggy (15%)
  3. Hercules (13%)
  4. Bullet (11%)
  5. Roxanne (11%)
  6. Jolly Roger (11%)
  7. Betty (11%)
  8. Dave (9%)
  9. Ghost (9%)
  10. Selena (9%)
Tinkerbell is the most popular name for a first car in 2022

Memorable moments associated with a first car include taking a first road trip with friends (45%), driving to a first job interview (28%), as well as monumental moments like fitting a baby seat for the first time (21%).

40% of Brits cite owning a first car as a rite of passage, with 16% admitting that they have put off selling their first car purely because of the memories attached to it. When it is time to part with the first set of wheels, the top reasons first car owners sell up are:

  1. It was on its last legs (37%)
  2. For an upgrade (27%)
  3. Unable to afford repairs (13%)
  4. Having a family and needing a bigger car (12%)
  5. Relocating and no longer needing a car (4%)

Alex Buttle, co-founder of online used-car marketplace Motorway, said: “A first car often holds special memories, no matter what the owner’s stage in life. But as we go through life, our motoring needs and budgets change.”

(The research carried out in June 2022 by Censuswide with a sample of 2,000 British car owners aged 18+.)

The first fuel station in the UK

The first fuel station in the UK

The first roadside fuel station in the UK opened in November 1919 and was located just outside the village of Aldermaston in Berkshire. There is sadly no trace of this motoring landmark, and the site of the station is now a layby on the A4.

The Development of petrol stations in the UK and elsewhere

The Automobile Association (AA) ran the Aldermaston petrol station, one of several they opened in the 1920s. Before the opening of these stations, there were no specialist filling stations, and fuel was obtained in nine-litre cans from a number of different retail outlets. Pavement pumps were installed in some places in the years before 1919, but the AA led the way with the idea of selling fuel from dedicated roadside locations. Part of the rationale behind the AA’s venture into fuel locations was to sell benzole, a motor spirit derived from coal and tar seen as a patriotic alternative to petrol imported from communist Russia. The AA stations were not open to the general public, you had to be an AA member to use them, and they were a non-profit offering.

The first petrol station in the UK

Other parts of the world had developed roadside stations well before the UK. The first record of a roadside petrol station anywhere in the world was in Wiesloch, Germany. Bertha Benz, the business partner and wife of the creator of the first internal combustion engine in a car, Karl Benz, refilled the tank of the first automobile on its maiden trip in 1888. In 1905 St Louis Missouri was the site of the first station in the USA. However, Reighard’s Gas Station in Altoona, Pennsylvania claims to be the oldest existing station in the US, dating from 1909.

The 1920s saw a significant increase in the number of petrol stations in the UK. By the end of the decade, there were over 28,000 petrol stations, with a peak of around 40,000 reached in 1967. Today there are 8,385 petrol stations in the UK, a significant drop in the number of stations but the locations are much larger, and they offer a far more extensive range of facilities.

What is the future of petrol stations?

RS Automotive in Takoma Park, Maryland, become the first petrol station in the USA to stop selling fossil fuels and replace its pumps with electric vehicle chargers. Many petrol stations in the UK have installed chargers, but none have taken the step of removing fuel pumps altogether. One hundred years on from the first roadside petrol station in the UK, we await the next phase of development in how we refuel our cars.

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