The rising cost of fuel is squeezing UK household spending according to the RAC Foundation analysis of the 2007 Family Spending Survey, published today (11).
The analysis finds that in the short to medium term, increases in fuel duty are contributing to the financial hardship experienced by many UK residents. Rural households, working age couples, the traditional family unit, retired couples and single person households are at particular risk from the pinch. Motorists living in the South (West and East), the Midlands, East England, Wales and Northern Ireland will also feel the effects of this increase.
"The cost of transport and its impact on UK households*" questions whether it is fair for motorists to bear the burden of topping up the public purse, and points out that, while the environment is often used as the argument for increasing fuel duty, recent analysis has shown that road users are the only energy users currently paying the full cost of their carbon emissions**.
The RAC Foundation's fact file on household spending on motoring finds:
* 14% of household spending goes on transport and 88% of this spending is on private motoring
* Fuel purchasing takes 4% of the average weekly household expenditure, the second most costly weekly product or service after the cost of housing (mortgage interest - 7.1% - and gross rents - 6.1%)
* The average household spends £62 per week on transport. £18.20 of which is spent on fuel
* Households in rural areas spend 20% more on transport than those living in urban areas
* Working-age couples, the traditional family unit and retired couples (who are not completely dependent on the state) spend the most of their weekly budget on transport. Single households and retired couples dependent on the state also spend a high proportion of their outgoings on transport
* The South-West and the South-East regions spend the most on transport
* Wales and the Midlands commit the greatest proportion of their weekly expenditure to running personal transport.
* The East, the South-West and the East Midlands have the highest car ownership levels
* Households in Wales, Northern Ireland, the South West and the Midlands spend the largest proportion of their weekly income on fuel.
Sheila Rainger, Acting Director of the RAC Foundation said;
"UK households are under increased financial pressure as energy and other household bills are at an all time high. Fuel should not be priced as a luxury or be considered an undesirable purchase, as car travel is essential and in many instances the only way for people to get to employment, education and health services."
** Roads and Reality, RAC Foundation, November 2007.
The analysis has made use of the ONS (2008) Family Spending Report 2007, published in January 2008 http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_social/Family_Spending_2006-07/FamilySpending2007_web.pdf