Drivers' annual mileage rates drop to new low

Traffic on a motorway Image copyright PA

Drivers in England are clocking up the lowest number of miles on average since records began 12 years ago.

The average mileage for four-wheeled vehicles stood at 7,900 miles (12,700km) in 2013, official figures showed.

This represents a 14% fall from a figure of 9,200 miles in 2002, the first year for which data is available.

Average annual mileage has dipped steadily in the intervening period, with mileage rising only in 2007.

The average figure for 2013 fell from the previous year even though the distance travelled when commuting to and from work increased from 2,500 miles in 2012 to 2,800 miles last year.

Business mileage dropped from 800 miles in 2012 to 700 miles in 2013. In 2002, this figure stood at 1,300 miles.

Worse congestion

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "While it is important to see whether individuals are driving more or less than before, official figures show overall traffic volume is on the rise again following the end of the recession.

"With the population expected to increase by 10 million over the next two decades congestion is going to get worse, not better."

AA president Edmund King said: "The weather in 2013, spikes in fuel prices and an increase in online shopping have all contributed to the drop in car use.

"Although the coldest March in 50 years will have contributed to the fall in petrol sales in 2013, by far the biggest cause over the first quarter was the third 8p to 10p-a-litre price swing in 12 months."

London walkers

The figures also showed that people in England travelled 6,592 miles on average in all modes of transport last year, including walking and travelling as a passenger in a car or van.

This figure is lower than the headline 7,900-mile figure for drivers, which applies to each vehicle, many of which are driven by more than one person.

Each person on average walked 184 miles and travelled 288 miles by bus.

The largest users of cars and vans were those living in rural areas, who walked only 97 miles on average last year.

Those living in London walked the most, averaging 215 miles, while those in the West Midlands walked the least, clocking up only 161 miles.

Car and van occupancy has not changed in recent years with the 2013 average being 1.57 people per journey, the same as in 2012 and 2011.

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