72% of London drivers consider changing their vehicle

In a recent survey of Londoners, 72% of drivers are considering changing their vehicle as the 2021 ULEZ expansion looms, with 20% switching to an EV (electric vehicle) or low-emission car.

A recent survey by Bikesure, a specialist motorbike insurance broker, found that a majority of Londoners will change the way they travel when the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion takes place later this year.

The ULEZ is due to be extended up to the North and South Circular routes in October 2021.

Although 84% of people will continue to ride/drive in the ULEZ following its expansion, 18.6% are set to choose two wheels over four, while 20% will switch to an EV (electric vehicle) or low-emission car.

From those surveyed:

  • 90% of people surveyed own cars
  • 3% own motorbikes
  • 1.7% own mopeds
  • 3% used to have a vehicle before ULEZ but now do not
  • 20% will ride or drive less due to the ULEZ expansion
  • in 2020, 65% of Londoners changed their usual mode of transport
  • in 2019, 82% of people were planning to change their usual mode of transport.

Bikesure have published their ULEZ 2021 Report tracking opinion change over three consecutive years towards the ULEZ and the alternative modes of transport favoured by commuters.

While EV sales are increasing (over 132,000 new passenger plug-in cars were registered in the UK in 2021 at an average market share of 14.5%), and charging stations becoming readily available on Britain’s roads, public transport remains the most popular alternative to petrol cars (36%), followed by walking (25%) while 9% of people opted to reduce emissions on two wheels by switching up their cars for low-emissions scooters, mopeds or motorbikes.

Those set to switch to greener alternatives such as an EV or electric motorbike can anticipate saving on the £12.50 daily charge for older and more polluting vehicles (up to 3.5 tonnes) that continue to drive within the newly expanded ultra low emission zone.

All-electric vehicles are currently exempt from the ULEZ charge.

Although a majority of Londoners will continue to ride or drive in the ULEZ following its expansion, commuters are giving new consideration to the benefits of switching to EVs.

The ULEZ expansion has accelerated a majority of Londoners’ intentions to buy an EV (73.4%) as those who join the green transport revolution can anticipate lower vehicle running costs as well as making a positive impact on the environment.

  • 27% of people wouldn’t have considered buying an electric vehicle if it weren’t for the introduction/expansion of the ULEZ
  • 26% were considering an electric vehicle anyway and see the ULEZ as a motivator for change now EV’s meet their needs (e.g. availability of charging points)
  • despite its potential impact on the cost of the daily commute, 13.5% plan on sticking with petrol vehicles regardless.

Bikesure’s survey has also revealed some encouraging data around the use of public transport.

36% of people will opt for the bus or train while travelling in London, aligning with government investment into hybrid double and single decker buses in a bid to achieve net zero emissions goals by 2037. (Mayor’s Transport Strategy, london.gov.uk)

ULEZ vs. CAZ’s
While sentiments remain positive about the impact of the ULEZ, with its expansion looming, commuter approvals have slightly decreased as almost 4 million people are set to be impacted.

This year, 40% of respondents felt it was a good idea, compared almost 45% in 2020.

There has also been a decrease in the amount of people who understood the reasons behind the ULEZ expansion but couldn’t help but feel frustrated by it.

This year, 37.5% approve of the ULEZ expansion but are frustrated by its impact on their lives, down on 43% surveyed in 2020.

Encouragingly, 37% feel the introduction of Clean Air Zones across several major UK cities is a positive thing for the country. While some scepticism remains, the verdicts are very similar, with again the vast majority (66%) hold positive sentiment for the introduction of CAZs.

Rob Balls, Underwriting Manager at Bikesure, said: “Our survey shows just how much the ULEZ expansion will shake up how people travel into and around London. While travel within the ULEZ will be unavoidable for many commuters and Londoners alike, it is encouraging to see that more people are considering alternative, greener and cheaper methods of transport as a result.”

Image: Shutterstock

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