Next time you’re stuck in a traffic jam.
It’s no surprise people choose their cars. It’s safer than cycling or walking (though less than coach or train). But, importantly – it’s much cheaper than the train or bus.
Congestion on the UK roads have been estimated to cost up to £20 billion a year – and that’s before costs of pollution, costs of accidents e.t.c. But, congestion will continue to get worse. The recent temporary decline in car use, is almost certain to be reversed as we see rising population, falling petrol prices, economic recovery and a fall in the relative cost of motoring.
Future congestion costs expected to increase over 30%
Cars have negative externalities – costs of pollution, accidents, costs of congestion, costs of unhealthy population who don’t exercise. To create a more socially efficient level of car use, it requires higher tax on petrol, higher tax on car use, and the subsidy and encouragement of alternative transport.
But, do people want to pay to have a more efficient and less congested transport network? – Probably not, so instead we have this.
The problem with transport policy, is that it requires a certain vision. A willingness to correct for market failure and take unpopular decisions, which have long-term benefits. Break habits of a lifetime can be hard.
Why is cost of car use falling?
Amongst other things.
- More efficient engines – use less petrol. One tank of petrol goes further than it used to.
- Cost of second hand cars has been falling
- Cost of car repair has been falling.
- Cuts in fuel duty rates petrol tax
Source: Fuel duty UK
Price of petrol and running vehicles at Economicshelp.org