Scottish motorists are clocking up nearly 1,000 miles more a year than they were two years ago, thanks to lower oil prices.
People are driving the equivalent of from Aberdeen to Gothenburg and back – a journey familiar to Dons fans who were in Sweden to watch their heroes lift the European Cup Winners Cup in 1983 – or a one-way trip to Vienna, Austria. The Scotland-wide figure suggests Inverness-based drivers are adding mileage to drive the equivalent of a return trip to London or a one-way journey to Munich, Germany.
Motorists from Lerwick to Stranraer and Stornoway to Eyemouth are taking advantage of lower petrol prices to drive an extra 221million miles in total, the research revealed.
The survey by automotive servicing and repair company Kwik Fit also showed Scottish drivers collectively save £564million a year as a result of the slump in oil prices. Their typical saving of £19.19 a month after the 20% drop in fuel costs is more than anywhere else in the UK as Britons save £16.05 on average, Kwik Fit said.
It added the lower petrol prices gave people more freedom and flexibility, with one in 10 drivers saying they were making journeys they may otherwise have avoided. Nearly as many (8%) were going on days out or driving holidays they would not have enjoyed at higher prices. One in 20 said they could make longer journeys than was previously the case.
Those buying a new car have more options, says Kwik Fit, with 6% of respondents saying they had bought a car with lower fuel economy as it was more affordable to run.
But there are downsides from lower fuel prices – 5% of the 2008 drivers questioned were less concerned about driving in an economical manner – and 2% are driving faster.
Kwik Fit communications director Roger Griggs said: “The lower fuel prices have obviously led to huge savings for many motorists and also enabled them to use their car more often.
“Just because fuel prices are lower than two years ago, we would encourage all drivers to try to drive as efficiently as possible – driving faster will clearly negate any savings made by increasing fuel consumption.”
He added: “It’s also important that the authorities responsible for our road network take into account that more miles are being travelled along them and ensure levels of highway maintenance keep pace with usage.”