By any measures that make sense, anyway, the costs of motoring since the era of Blair and Prescott (1997) and from 2000 can be seen to have gone down. This is according to two tables of statistics publcihed by the Department for Transport
First, look at Table TSGB0123 . With the Retail Price Index (RPI) set at 100 in 1997, when New Labour came to power, we have the RPI at 141.9 in 2010, with the costs of rail and bus/coach at 166 and 176 respectively: so the costs of rail travel in so-called “real terms” ( accounting for inflation measuring by RPI) have gone up, and bus/coach by even more. By contrast. the costs of motoring are at 132.5 – a drop to 93% of the 1997 costs to the motorist. Largely becasue of the dramatic drop in the cost of cars, the motoring costs measured have fallen.
Secondly, look at TSGB0121 .
This gives the costs of motoring adjusted for inflation to have gone down by 88% between 2000/2001 and 2010.
The percentage of household expenditure on transport is down from 14.5% to 13.7%. My calculation is that motoring costs in 2000/2001 were 12.4% of household expenditure, in 2010 this had gone down to 11.3%.
Of course, this is not the whole story: motoring costs could be substantially reduced by measures we have drawn attention to in this series on the Costs of Motoring:
* Driving in a more fuel efficient manner.
* Driving carefully to bring down costs of 3rd party insurance
* Reducing unneccessary car journeys.
* Choosing already existing more fuel efficient models.
One other point: this is the costs of motoring to the motorist – not the costs of motoring (economic and otherwise) to society.
SO: while the age of austerity bites with reduced incomes, higher unemployment, reduced pensions, increasing costs of housing – the cost of motoring has – as both a proportion of household expenditure and related to inflation – been dropping.