Car ownership vs. car use

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bletchleyite, 11 Jan 2020.

  1. Giugiaro

    Giugiaro Member

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    Is it possible for me to participate in the discussion?

    Over the past year I used my car, like... Once per week for a 5km trip to a caffé, with a friend of mine that couldn't walk much.

    Most of my expenses with the car correspond to taxing, insurance, maintenance and inspection.

    Because of the extremely good transport system I have in Porto, I rarely had the need to use my car to go anywhere.

    Sure, if I used the car I could go to several places in a single day, while on Public Transport I'd only be able to go to 3 distant places, at best. Not the best to do errands, but it defenitely is the most cost effective.

    Ever since the monthly pass for the Porto Metropolitan Area was capped at 40€ I hardly ever need to use the car to go whenever I want in this region.

    Now, while I'm zipping around in trains and buses, the car is just sitting still in thrq garage gathering dust and costing me money. Unfortunately renting it isn't a possibility, otherwise I could eliminate most of the fixed expenses I have with it.
     
  2. MidlandsChap

    MidlandsChap Member

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    Sigh. How can you possibly say that without knowing the route? A round trip to the shop would take an hour. I know the journey to/from is 15 minutes each way because its very close to the gym which I have cycled to the odd day in summer.

    I would follow a very stop start route through various estates/subways/paths/crossing roads which is the only viable way of getting there. You are assuming its 2 miles down a straight road, if it were then yes obviously it would not take 15 minutes, but it isnt 2 miles down a straight road.

    By the way, did I mention that a round trip to the shop by bike would take an hour?

    Oh one final thing if anybody wants to know, a round trip to the shop would take an hour. I trust this matter at hand can now be put to bed because its somewhat deviating from the intended subject of this thread.
     
    Last edited: 17 Jan 2020
  3. Lucan

    Lucan Member

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    What matters in this context is not the size of cars, it is how much emmissions are produced. That is directly and entirely related to how much fuel is consumed, so any tax that purports to be about emissions should be entirely on the fuel. IMHO there should be road tolls too to address congestion independently of emissions.

    I have a large 4x4 but only use it when I need a large vehicle, which is actually quite often; last time was two weeks ago to carry a bed, and recently before that for fence posts and building blocks (and don't talk to me about hiring vans, been there done that). Other times I use wife's smaller car. Neither are kept on the road BTW. Yet I pay about 10 times as much VED per mile as a typical large HGV, and far more than a former neighbour who jumped in and out of his 1.2 litre car about six times a day to drive 400 yards to some local shops, certainly emitting in total more than I do but at a fraction of the VED. We now live in the sticks and plan trips, and typically only make one shopping trip per week by car, a 20 mile round trip to our nearest town.

    As for needing a 4x4, I don't understand why people get so emotional about a car having an additional drive shaft. As I said, I live in the sticks, and among some steep hills, and simply could not get around here otherwise in the autumn with wet leaves or in winter with snow. Even my wife's small car has to be a 4x4.

    Ignore adverts that claim green-ness, it is just marketing BS. The real issue that need to be addressed, the elephant in the room, is human over-population; most green issues are just facets of that and are like arranging deckchairs on the Titanic. World population has doubled in my lifetime and that is not slowing down. For anyone who knows about maths, such a short doubling time is terrifying.
     
  4. Kingspanner

    Kingspanner Member

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    For the umpteenth time (Science, maths, facts again, I'm sorry)
     
  5. Meerkat

    Meerkat Established Member

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    Bigger cars create more emissions- that’s just physics. More weight, bigger tyres creating particulates, more braking creating more particulates.
    They are also less safe, and take up more road space both parked up and on the move.
    Just ask cyclists the difference going through lanes of Smart cars or lines of SUVs.
     
  6. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I don't think it's so much the transmission, it's more that for most people "4x4" is a synonym for "big, heavy SUV with the aerodynamics of a brick and high fuel consumption" or possibly "Land Rover Defender". I doubt, for instance, most would consider a Fiat Panda 4x4 to be such a vehicle even though it does have the above mentioned extra driveshaft and is probably the most popular car in rural Italy. Or indeed an Audi Quattro or Subaru Impreza, both of which are, er, 4x4s (there's a clue in the name of the former).

    The extra transmission components do affect fuel consumption due to weight and extra rolling resistance, but not to that significant an extent.
     
  7. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    I don’t think anyone has an issue with people in rural areas having 4x4 vehicles.

    What is becoming an issue is their increasing prevalence in urban areas. There has been an explosion in their use in the Home Counties recently, and I’m sure few if any have been procured on the basis of taking winter holidays in difficult terrain. Apart from the increased pollution they are also more difficult to manoeuvre and take up more room when parked. As an aside their drivers are also quite often rather arrogant.

    Having said all that, cars have tended to get bigger over the years. I’ve recently bought my first new car for 17 years, on paper same model as the old one, yet it’s a good 6 inches wider and longer. Doesn’t really do much for me apart from make it marginally more awkward to manoeuvre, I don’t get into the old one and think “this is small”!
     
  8. JohnMcL7

    JohnMcL7 Member

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    My car spends most of its life doing nothing as my main form of transport is my bike but having looked into the alternatives, it does still make financial sense. It's a 2011 Mazda6 estate which has little depreciation now and the running costs are generally low as there's rarely much wrong with it and its large boot size is useful for being able to get big mountain bikes in without dismantling them. I have looked at the local car club but it's not that cheap in comparison and the model of car they use is too small to fit the bikes in and it's not very convenient as the nearest bay is a mile away. Also I don't mind putting mucky dogs or mucky bikes in my own car which are its main uses or filling it with gardening rubbish but I wouldn't want to do that with a shiny hire car.

    All that said I don't think the fact I still have a car is an issue instead I think it's car use which is more important, I bought a bike to try and reduce my car use for short trips since it was one of the early DPF models which could have problems if it wasn't used on enough long drives. Since then the bike has become my primary form of transport and what has surprised was how much I missed the bike when I've not been able to cycle because it's convenient being able to go into town or similar and not have to worry about parking or traffic. While my car may not be the cleanest model and I still own one it has very little use now and in turns not polluting.
     
  9. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    There's always been "model inflation", and there are solid reasons why - if someone buys a Vauxhall Astra (say) when they're 18 and they like it, there is a lot of strength and loyalty in that brand, and they might continue to buy Vauxhall Astras through their life. But they need a bigger car when they have a wife and 2 kids...no problem, the Astra has quietly been getting bigger while the Carlton (as-was) fell off the top, and the Vectra (now Insignia) has become the big premium car. The Agila/Adam[1] were then inserted at the bottom, and so it continues to move up.

    The same thing happened with Ford - the Mondeo has now been dumped, I believe (though that's partly because large-car buyers prefer MPVs e.g. the C- and S-Max), the Focus/Escort has steadily got bigger over time, as has the Fiesta, and the KA was inserted underneath to fill that gap.

    [1] The name Adam makes no sense as a Vauxhall so I'm surprised it wasn't called something else. It comes from the German company being formerly called "Adam Opel AG" after its founder, which anyone in Germany who knows anything about cars will know. Whereas the name just makes you go "er, wha?" in the UK.
     
  10. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    For something like BMWs there’s no real need for model inflation, as someone can start with a 3 series and if they need something bigger can quite happily get a 5 series next time round.

    For me I’m finding the only practical change is 3 inches less room when getting out of the car in a parking bay!
     
  11. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    But there isn't so much brand loyalty anymore, especially when you've got Asian brands such as Kia, Nissan etc, as well as the increasing popularity of stupid SUVs.
    Then you have premium brands such as Volvo who are increasing in popularity.
     
  12. Domh245

    Domh245 Established Member

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    Most car size inflation comes from a need for improved crash safety and aerodynamics. Cars have gotten wider in part to accommodate side crash structures as well as trying to maximise interior space for occupants.

    Most brands will try and keep drivers within the brand, ideally moving them up the ladder to vehicles with higher profit margins!
     
  13. TrafficEng

    TrafficEng Member

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    The idea of graduated VED was that vehicle owners should think more carefully about the kind of vehicle they are purchasing and whether the characteristics (e.g. engine CC) was appropriate for their needs. The logic is that having purchased the vehicle, the emissions are broadly fixed regardless of the type of use you put it to. (e.g. on the summer school run vs driving up Snowdon)

    By making the cost of purchase and the fixed annual costs greater, it theoretically encourages people to choose a lower emissions vehicle and adapt their behavior (e.g. buy and use a trailer for hauling building materials)

    Of course when politicians and tax get involved in the equation any logic goes out of the window. Thus my friend and I owning vehicles of approximately the same age and same CC are paying wildly differing amounts of VED - because they purchased a diesel and I went for petrol. In fact even now we are all aware that diesels aren't as 'green' as some politicians believed, my friend's total VED bill on next renewal will still be be less than the increase in mine since last year. completely absurd.

    The key point - that which is most relevant to the topic of this thread - is what you say about owning two cars. A larger one when you need it, a smaller one when you don't. With the current regime of fixed costs vs mileage costs (plus initiatives designed to discourage car ownership) we are in a situation where people are more likely to buy a big car in case they need the space, rather than have two cars and use the one most appropriate for a particular journey.

    Of course there is absolutely no justification for buying a large SUV if the only use is dropping the children to school less than a mile from home and/or going to the gym/shops/leisure park etc.
     
  14. al78

    al78 Established Member

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    It does quite often, e.g.:

    Cost of fuel to drive to visit family over holiday periods, a bit under £50.
    Cost of train to travel to visit family over hlliday periods, about £100.

    In other words, I get financially penalised for making responsible transport choices.

    The problem with cycling/walking facilities is that they are often crap, and it is deemed too expensive/unfeasible/impractical to bring cycle facilities up to decent (e.g. Dutch) standards, because towns and cities have little space available to install such facilities, and to make that space requires more money than anyone has. Even if it were possible to build superb facilities everywhere, I doubt it will make much of a dent in car use, because walking and cycling requires physical effort and exposure to poor weather, which people don't want in general.
     
  15. al78

    al78 Established Member

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    I have a 10 minute cycle to the gym, and even after a session including heavy tiring squats, can manage to cycle home again, even with the hill in the way.

    I live a 10 minute walk from a supermarket, so food shopping is no problem on foot or bike.
     
  16. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Interested to read this and similar articles recently: https://www.citylab.com/transportat...y-city-utrecht-streetfilms-bike-lanes/593320/
    So the current cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands has mostly appeared in the last 50 years, unlike say light rail in Germany which has developed over a much longer period. Obviously that's still quite a long time but importantly it seems that like most other countries Dutch didn't include cycle facilities in the many road-building schemes of the 50s and 60s.
     
  17. TrafficEng

    TrafficEng Member

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    Typically road traffic volumes (and speeds) in those days didn't necessitate segregated cycle facilities, especially in urban areas.

    Segregated facilities were also making an appearance in the UK around that time, especially in new towns where a coordinated planning approach was adopted (e.g. Stevenage), although sometimes segregated facilities were provided primarily to stop cyclists slowing down motorised traffic.

    It is also worth pointing out that the commonly held perception the Dutch are ardent fans of segregated cycle facilities is not a universal truth. In more recent times the idea of segregating cyclists (and pedestrians) to keep the way clear for motorised vehicles has become controversial and some believe it to be counterproductive in terms of safety and achieving mode shift.

    The work of Hans Monderman and the 'shared space' concept takes us almost full circle to the idea road users (of all modes) need to 'negotiate' the use of roadspace with each other, rather than being told how to use it by traffic engineers.
     
  18. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    But if they were anything like UK schemes of the period, even in urban areas, they were looking to accommodate more and faster traffic. Perhaps it just wasn't appreciated how dangerous this would be for cyclists until the fatalities started to climb.
    Shared space is a concept for streets used by small numbers of vehicles for short distances, essentially for access to premises on the street. It wouldn't work for through routes as traffic volumes would be too great and drivers would probably get impatient and accelerate to dangerous speeds, which is where segregated cycleways come in. If done properly these are more about transferring roadspace from cars to other users, rather than creating a fast road where drivers don't expect to be obstructed. However subways and footbridges are generally now seen to be a bad idea, and tend to be replaced by at-grade crossings for pedestrians and cyclists.
     
  19. 60019

    60019 Member

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    The difference, AIUI from some marketdroid friends, is that millennials as a category generally prefer smaller amounts of nice stuff or experiences to lots of less nice stuff. In part that's driven by smaller homes and so on, and increased health-consciousness for foods (hence "millennials are killing fast food", etc.), but it is also just the natural backlash against the extreme of the other direction reached by older generations. Still, that doesn't do much to reduce the use of cars and other expensive items as fashion accessories by those who can afford it.
     
  20. underbank

    underbank Established Member

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    Depends on the area. I'm sure millennials in big cities, like London, have probably shunned cars as a fashion accessory and are into trendy food/drink, etc., but probably that's more due to the locality, i.e. good public transport means less need for a car, lots of dining options, etc. Up here in a northern town, there's no sign at all of millennials shunning modern cars or shunning McDonalds. Nearly all of my son's classmates (upper sixth) are learning to drive because it's regarded as a necessity. Looking around the supermarket car parks, there is no shortage of new cars - I'd hazard a guess and say most are new/leased - the few older ones stand out. Lots of the cars are "trendy" too, i.e. bright colours, patterns, electric. We've just had a huge new drive through McDonalds built that seems very busy. All in all, I'd say our millennials are no different to the older generations.
     
  21. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    It does at least show that it's possible to get people out of cars if the ease of use of public transport, and the difficulty of driving, approaches what we see in London. But I agree it's difficult to see how that would happen elsewhere unless a lot more public money is spent, and spent wisely.
     
  22. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    There’s still a lot of driving in London, for example your stereotypical middle-age woman in an SUV driving 500yds to the local Waitrose. This sort would be my focus - it causes pollution in itself, and it causes a disproportionate amount of congestion with further increases overall pollution.
     
  23. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Probably more outer than inner London I think. But the Mayor is trying to address that by for example improving bus services and expanding restrictions on polluting vehicles outwards. How successful this will be is unknown, but it's much more than is being attempted anywhere else.
     
  24. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Such a scheme would only be successful if they don’t include hefty discounts for residents. There’s no point in penalising people like shift workers who at times may have little alternative, but not target the baby boomer in their SUV heading to buy a few bits of shopping, or driving to a green space to walk the dog.
     
  25. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    It focuses on emissions: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/low-emission-zone/about-the-lez?intcmp=2263
    There are currently discounts/exemptions for residents within the ULEZ but these are being phased out: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ul...ts-and-exemptions?intcmp=52218#on-this-page-0
     
  26. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    In theory that’s good. However Khan has a habit of losing nerve, especially with elections approaching and an issue which might well prove rather electorally unpopular.

    Shafting people from outside London, like is being done with the Underground station car parks, is one thing as there’s little for him to lose by it, but one can see the headlines now “poor disadvantaged Londoners made to pay a fortune to drive their car in their city”. Not exactly a way to gain or retain votes!

    Personally I’d rather these sorts of decisions were made by central government, rather than by a parochial individual who lacks legitimacy outside of his parochial boundary.
     
  27. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    However many people will probably have already replaced their vehicles in anticipation of the new charge, so he faces a different kind of unpopularity from people who say they have wasted their money if he cancels it. I have the feeling that a majority in London, who have to live with the consequences of traffic and have seen the benefits of the congestion charge, are in favour of increased restrictions on driving.
    Fully agree. If all similar places faced similar restrictions it would get round the worry that any place imposing a restriction would lose trade to other places nearby.
     
  28. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    As London has piloted such schemes (including the C-charge) and has set up e.g. IT systems to support, I'd rather see Goverment funding put into applying these elsewhere in the UK than everyone doing their own thing (Bristol being a case in point). Ideally we have just two standards, ULEZ and LEZ, plus the option of a CC, and the local decision is simply which areas to apply each of those concepts to, with a long-term aim to have the whole UK a LEZ by a certain date and a ULEZ by a more distant date. (These latter two would require additional provisions e.g. scrappage schemes to avoid disproportionately causing issues for poorer people).

    CC could similarly be expanded into full national road pricing.
     
  29. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    I certainly agree about the LEZ and ULEZ - a plethora of different definitions would be confusing to drivers as well as costly to implement. The London CC model is probably also applicable to similar schemes in other places where the actual charge, time and area of validity could be set to suit the needs of each place. To my mind complications such as making the amount dependent on the actual amount of congestion are pointless, as a driver having started their journey is unlikely to turn round and go home simply because when they reach the charging zone the charge is a bit higher than they expected.

    However a distance-based charge will probably be needed in the future for EVs to pay their share of road costs in place of fuel tax. This could be a flat rate per mile, but variable by vehicle type, but needs very different infrastructure from the C-charge to capture distance travelled without needing thousands of roadside cameras.
     
  30. Domh245

    Domh245 Established Member

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    Anecdotal evidence admittedly, but it's definitely having an impact. My parents got rid of their Diesel Touran and shifted to an Outlander PHEV purely because of the upcoming (2021) ULEZ expansion to the North/South Circular, despite me repeatedly pointing out that it won't actually cover their house, and they rarely actually drive into the enlarged zone! Even the updated LEZ standard only applies to 3.5t vehicles or heavier so they they'd have been fine under that as well. That said however, they have rather been converted by the PHEV and have no intention of going back, so even if it was cancelled I think they (and many others who've jumped from ICE to HEV because of it) won't be too upset

    Agreed. Would also help to limit knee-jerk reactionary decisions (cough cough Bristol)
     

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