by Countryside Alliance

Rural households that depend on their cars are having to spend nearly £8002 a year more on fuel than people who live in urban areas, according to a new study.

The Countryside Alliance has undertaken a study that shows on average those living in rural communities are paying up to 47%2 more in fuel costs to access basic services, amenities, and commute.

This alarming research highlights the disparity between rural and urban areas and the Alliance is calling upon the Government to act and support our hard-pressed rural motorists.

On average, according to the National Transport Survey, those living in rural areas drive around 40%2 more miles each year than those living in urban areas. But there are fewer petrol stations and less competition in rural areas, which means they are paying up to 6p a litre more for their petrol than their urban neighbours.

This means that people in the countryside are more likely to struggle when filling up their cars because of the higher prices at rural filling stations, longer commuting distances, and travelling further to access services and amenities.

Sarah Lee, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Countryside Alliance said: “The cost of fuel weighs far heavier on rural people and as you can see from our study rural communities can pay up to 47%2 more in fuel costs to access basic services and amenities, and to commute. The car is fast becoming an unaffordable necessity and it is time for the Government to act and introduce a fuel rebate scheme to remote rural areas in the UK.

“We have continually called for support of the hard-pressed rural motorist and this research is a clear message to the Chancellor that he must act now and address the huge discrepancies between rural and urban fuel prices.”

The newly elected Liberal Democrat MP for Tiverton and Honiton Richard Foord used his first day in Parliament today to urge the Government to cut fuel duty for rural areas like Devon, in response to the study.

Richard Foord will be tabling a  parliamentary motion calling for a rural fuel duty cut immediately after being sworn in as an MP today while calling on MPs to put party politics aside and sign the motion in support.

 

Using the Petrol Prices website we have surveyed 15 rural and urban petrol stations (geographically spread out for balance) to compare the cost of petrol and diesel on 23/06/22.

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2On average in rural areas, it costs 5.75p per litre more for unleaded petrol and 2.5p for diesel.

3The following data is based on a Nissan Qashqai which is one of the most popular cars sold in the UK. They have 55l tank of petrol and average about 580 miles per tank according to real-life users’ experience. Note, for those in rural areas driving 4x4s, that price will be higher.

The commentary above is based on the latest data from 2020 but the Covid pandemic had a significant impact on travel distances, and we have therefore also included data from 2019 for comparison.

12020 - National Transport Survey average mileage travelled by households                               

  • Urban households travelled on average 3625 miles and rural households travelled 5767 miles - that is 60% more than their urban counterparts.
  • In 2020 rural communities travelled 2142 miles more than their urban neighbour to access services, amenities and commuting - that would equate to 3.7 tanks3 more.                                               
  • Urban households use 6.2 tanks of petrol a year at a cost of £103.18 per tank - £644.87 a year.                                                
  • Rural households use 9.94 tanks of petrol a year at a cost of £106.15 per tank - £1085.28 a year.

                                                           

So rural households are paying £440.41 a year more to access services, amenities and, commuting, that is £36.70 a month or £8.47 a week - 68% more than their urban neighbours.

22019 (State of Rural Services 2019)                                                     

  • Urban households travelled on average 9282 miles and rural households travelled 13,459 miles - that is 45% more than their urban counterparts.
  • Rural communities travel 4177 more miles a year to access services - that would equate to 7.2 tanks3 of petrol more each year than those living in urban areas.
  • Urban households use 16 tanks of petrol a year at a cost of £103.18 per tank - £1650.88 a year
  • Rural households use 23 tanks of petrol a year at a cost of £106.15 per tank - £2441.45 a year.                                                

So rural households are paying £790.57 a year more to access services, amenities and commuting, that is £66 a month or £15.20 a week - 47% more than their urban neighbours.                                                                                                               

Car usage - National Transport Survey 2020                                                       

  • Households living in rural areas are more likely to own a car or van than urban residents.                  
  • In 2020, 32% of households living in urban conurbations have no car or van, however, only 6% of households living in rural villages, hamlets and isolated dwellings have no car or van.                
  • 61% of households living in rural villages, hamlets and isolated dwellings having two or more cars/vans, more than twice that of those living in urban conurbations (25%) in 2020.                                                  

 

The Countryside Alliance continues to be an influential voice for the countryside and rural communities, but we couldn't do it without your support. By becoming a member, you will be joining a community which is striving to protect the rural way of life. You can also show your support by donating to a campaign that you are passionate about. Click here to join us today.

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