Economic crisis continues to shape Europeans' driving habits
The third edition of the Europcar Transportation and Mobility Observatory, conducted in partnership with polling institute Ipsos, is based on responses from more than 6,000 people, age 18 and over, in seven European countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK.
In many aspects, the 2010 survey confirmed the 2009 edition's findings, with nine out of ten European drivers saying they have changed the way they drive in the past 12 months for cost reasons. Like last year, the French and Portuguese have changed their driving habits the most for these reasons, at 94% and 93% respectively, compared with 90% for Europeans as a whole.
Also like last year, some 82% of respondents said they had changed their driving habits for environmental reasons. The French and Portuguese led in this area too, at 89% and 87%, respectively, while the UK had the lowest proportion of drivers changing habits for environmental reasons, still at 76%.
What alternative means of transportation would Europeans use if they don't drive their cars? The survey reveals that in terms of mobility strategies, 82% of respondents would turn to public transportation (bus, subway, tram). For individual motorised transportation, car rental was the most popular alternative at 48% – and even 54% and 52% in Spain and France, respectively – followed by car pooling (45%), two-wheeled motor vehicles (37%), and cars available in self service (32%).
In urban areas of over 200,000 inhabitants, 70% of respondents already use public transportation when it is possible to do so, for economic reasons (vs 55% of Europeans overall). Among those who have already considered giving up one of the household's cars, 55% would consider car rental, 46% car pooling and 38% cars available in self service, which this year figured for the first time as another viable alternative to ownership.
Commenting on the survey results, Philippe Guillemot, chief executive officer of Europcar Groupe, said: 'When Europcar launched its Observatory in 2008, the goal was to collect data to understand the important changes underway and verify our intuitions about transportation and mobility trends across Europe. As this third edition shows, the economic downturn has had a lasting effect on Europeans' driving habits, their relationships with their cars, and their priorities and strategies for meeting their mobility needs.'