Record Fuel Prices Drive Down Car Usage in 2011 ; – Two thirds of people have been forced to change driving habits; – Driving is too expensive – five per cent say they no longer drive

CHESTER, England, Jan. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –Two thirds of Brits have been forced to change their driving habits because of record fuel prices, according to new research from moneysupermarket.com.

Britain’s number one comparison site asked site users whether record fuel prices were forcing them to change their driving habits. The results found two thirds of respondents (67 per cent) admit record costs have taken their toll; 62 per cent have reduced the amount of time they spend behind the wheel, and five per cent claim they have stopped driving altogether because of the costs.

However, almost a fifth (17 per cent) are sticking to their usual driving habits as they can just about still afford it, and a further 16 per cent have not changed their driving habits at all.

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at moneysupermarket.com said: “With the effects of the VAT rise taking hold, and the latest inflation data highlighting the pressure on our wallets, fuel is another day to day cost that people are really struggling with. Now really is the time to take action across the board with your finances to make the most of your money so you don’t have to resort to changing your lifestyle dramatically. Apathy won’t be rewarded, so seek out the best deals for your circumstances to make the most of your hard earned cash.

“It is easy to make the mistake of sitting on average products which do not give a good rate of return or cost far more than they need to. Significant savings can be made by switching to a better deal on all your financial products. These savings don’t even require a change of lifestyle, but simply require a few minutes of research to check what deal you are currently being offered, comparing other products and changing to a more competitive deal if necessary.”

moneysupermarket.com’s top tips for taking control of your finances with the best deals in the UK:

Reduce expensive borrowing with a 0% balance transfer deal

Switch any outstanding credit or store card or other debt balance to a market-leading card and get up to 17 months at 0%, reducing your monthly outgoings significantly.

Barclaycard Platinum is the market-leading balance transfer card. Not only does it come with 0% for 17 months (typical 16.9% APR) and a competitive 2.9% balance transfer fee, you also get a 20 pounds Sterling refund when you apply to transfer 3,000 pounds or more by January 31. Take advantage before it’s too late.

Consolidate your debt with a low-rate loan

If you’re paying a fortune in interest on credit cards, store cards, loans or overdrafts, think about consolidating that debt with a market-leading loan.

Alliance and Leicester personal loan is the cheapest in the market. There’s a typical rate of just 7.2% on loans of 7,500 pounds to 14,950 pounds for up to five years.

Protect your cash from the taxman

Use your cash ISA allowance before April 5 and protect up to 5,100 pounds from the taxman. Fight high inflation too, with one of the top accounts.

Santander’s Flexible ISA is paying 2.85% AER tax free (variable) for 12 months. The account can be opened with as little as 1 pound and you can save your full allowance of 5,100 pounds. No cash ISA transfers in allowed.

Take advantage of the January sales with a 0% purchase card

If you’re hitting the sales to shop, using the right credit card can mean you pay no interest for 12 months, just make sure you can pay it off at the end.

The best deal right now is the Tesco Clubcard Credit Card. Not only does it offer the longest 0% period on purchases at 13 months, with a typical APR of 16.9%, you’ll also earn extra Clubcard points when you shop.

Overstretched yourself? Don’t worry, help is at hand

Whether you are looking for help getting your finances back on track or a complete solution to pay off your debts, it makes sense to talk to an OFT-approved expert and find the right solution for you. Their advice is completely confidential.

Bundle your phone, TV and web to save cash

By signing up for a TV, landline and broadband package from just one supplier, you can save an average of 240 pounds over the year.

Switch energy firms and save hundreds

People switching from their gas and electricity provider’s standard tariff to the best deal for them save an average of 172 pounds a year. That money is better in your pocket than theirs!

Save money on your car insurance

While you don’t want to compromise on cover, you could save an average of 280 pounds by comparing policies.

Cover your contents for less

Don’t just renew your home insurance, take a few minutes to scour the market for a better deal and save an average of 131 pounds a year.

Take advantage of discounts, vouchers and special offers

Make 2011 the year you compare everything. Take a few minutes to use our shopping comparison page or discount voucher bank and save money every day.

Press Contact:__

Nicola Parry__

moneysupermarket.com__

nicola.parry@moneysupermarket.com__

+44(0)1244-370-318__

SOURCE moneysupermarket.com

Originally published by moneysupermarket.com.

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