Caravan owners driving more carefully to save money

David Shelton of Motorpoint is urging the government to change it's motoring policies

by Marcus Dubois

With the cost of petrol surging ever higher, caravan owners and other motorists appear to be changing their driving habits in order to save them money at the pumps. This is according to the latest survey by Motorpoint, which revealed that 64 per cent of Brits have altered their behaviour behind the wheel to try and save on fuel.

It’s hardly surprising that motorists are starting to cut costs, as the RAC estimates the average price of petrol has now risen to 133.55p a litre. Throughout 2011 here at Caravan Times we have been highlighting the issue of rising fuel costs and how this affects you. Last month we posed the question “Are rising fuel prices changing the way we drive?” and this week’s survey appears to have confirmed our view that caravanners are being forced to change their habits.

And a group which was praised last month by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles for contributing to the British economic recovery, is now being forced to cut back on the frequency of their hobby due to the cost of towing.

Government intervention

Last month caravan owners were given a reprieve when chancellor George Osborne used his annual Budget to scrap a planned rise in fuel duty. Yet prices are still continuing to rise, and Motorpoint’s managing director David Shelton believes the government must intervene further.

“It is clear from our poll that the cost of fuel is starting to have an effect on the way in which people drive – a trend that is likely to continue unless the government changes its motoring policies” he noted.

Smaller engined towcars

Earlier this week a member of the Caravan Times community asked for tips on how to achieve greater fuel economy when towing. So we spoke to Steven Wright of Motorpoint to find out whether diesel towcars are proving more popular during the fuel crisis. And he revealed how he was forced to change his own car in search of better mileage.

“I commute 30 miles to work – that’s 60 miles each way, and my petrol car was just proving too expensive” he explained. “So I switched to a diesel model which saved me £15 a week, which is a staggering £60 a month.”

According to Stephen, sales of supermini cars are up 30% since the Budget. He also noted how diesel engines have improved from the noisy, smelly, large-capacity engines of old. “In the past you could only have big engines, whereas now our biggest seller at Motorpoint is the Ford Fiesta 1.4 with the diesel.”

And their best-selling towcar also came as a surprise. “Ssangyongs have sold really well as caravan towcars. We had about 20-25 of them on our books, and we sold out of all of them because word got around. The Rexton has a Mercedes gearbox and engine but is in a great affordable package, so it’s rightly popular”.

Have you changed your driving habits to save fuel? Do you have any tips for economic driving? Click here to share your views in our forum topic