Half believe cost of driving will jump again
The majority of Irish motorists expect the cost of running cars to continue to increase over the next 12 months.
Just over half of those surveyed earlier this summer indicated that they expected fuel prices to rise by 10-15 per cent in the next year, down 4 per cent on 2011.
2012 saw an increase in those predicting a fall in fuel prices, from 10 per cent to 16 per cent. What is clear from the survey commissioned by Skoda, is that Irish motorists’ behaviour at the pumps varies significantly depending on age and gender.
It comes as no surprise that the older the motorist, the savvier they are, with the percentage choosing to fill their tanks when visiting the pump increasing with age.
Under half of motorists (44 per cent) fill their tank at the forecourt in 2012, down slightly from 2011 (48 per cent), while 1 in 4 now purchase a set value showing an increase from last year.
Only one in five of those aged 18-24 filled their tanks when they visited a filling station in 2012, in contrast to just over half of those aged 45+.
Younger participants (26 per cent) and women (15 per cent) were more likely to fill the tank with whatever cash they had on them than men at 7 per cent, with men more likely than women to fill the entire tank.
Over 1/4 of respondents claim to use forecourt loyalty cards, with 25-34 year olds the most likely to have one, and 18-24 year olds the least.
Thrifty Dublin motorists were the most likely in the country to have a loyalty card. Surprisingly, 6 in every 10 claimed that they don’t notice any difference in having one.
Forecourt spending continues to be affected by the lack of consumer spending, with one in every four motorists not spending any additional money in forecourt shops and one fifth of those that do spending only €2.50.
As in 2011, the impact of the downturn is apparent with 38 per cent of Irish motorists opting not to spend any money on car washing and a further 29 per cent prepared to spend only €5 or less on each wash.
While a quarter of all motorists indicated that they wash their cars once every three months, women had a greater tendency to keep their vehicles clean with a quarter admitting to washing their car as often as needs be, compared to 14 per cent of men.
Irish motorists upheld their record as safety conscious motorists in 2012. A quarter of participants check their tyres every month and in spite of rising costs for motorists, more than 80 per cent again said that they were willing to spend more on better quality tyres that would last longer. At the other end of the spectrum however, 1 in 20 respondents check their tyres only once a year.
As in 2011, these patterns differed according to age and gender. Younger respondents and women (1 in 3) were more than twice as likely to get somebody else to check their tyres than those in the 45+ group. As might be expected, men are more likely to maintain their car on a regular basis with almost 40 per cent checking their tyres every month. Just 2 per cent admitted to having someone else check their tyres for them.
In 2011 and 2012, more than half of those surveyed had to spend more on running their car compared to the previous year. Restricted consumer spending led to a fall of 6 per cent in the number willing to pay for an annual car service to 69 per cent in 2012.
Participants in 2012 were also less reluctant to pay as much for their car service, with almost 27 per cent claiming they wanted to spend as little as possible compared to 23 per cent in 2011.
Reflecting the higher price sensitivity among the 18-24 age group, only 30 per cent of this group was willing to pay €150 for a service compared to almost 60 per cent of those aged 45+.
This trend continued when participants were questioned on frequency of car service.
Overall, nearly 7 in 10 motorists serviced their car annually, but this varied significantly by age. While over three quarters of those aged 45+ serviced their car annually, in comparison, just over a quarter of 18-24 year olds only did so sporadically, when they thought of it.
The results of the survey indicated that the Irish are very law abiding when it comes to car parking, with 87 per cent avoiding the clampers in the last year.
Those charged under €50 or between €101-200 remained relatively constant in 2011 and 2012, while the number receiving fines of between €51-100 rose from 37 per cent to 42 per cent. Again, parking tickets and car clamping were highest amongst younger drivers aged 18-24.
One in 3 motorists have recorded an increase in their insurance premiums in 2012, with almost half seeing an increase of up to 5 per cent and over a third seeing an increase of up to 10 per cent.
Against the backdrop of increased car maintenance and servicing, 59 per cent of Irish motorists do not have breakdown assistance.
Unsurprisingly, given the cost conscious nature of the research findings, 7 in 10 who do have breakdown assistance have it as part of their vehicle insurance.
Taking into account the findings of this latest survey, Raymond Leddy, Head of Marketing with Skoda Ireland, explains what Skoda is doing for its customers: "Irish Motorists are more conscious than ever when it comes to motoring. While fuel cost increases cannot be controlled more prudent older purchasers will shop around to seek value.
"As a result we are experiencing more demand for our fuel efficient GreenLine range of vehicles as customers seek to offset rising fuel prices. On a more concerning safety level younger motorists are more likely to neglect vehicle maintenance and pay less attention to tyre condition, " he added.