Driving is essential to keep the over 50s socially and economically active

Monday 16 March 2015

• Report shows surge in car owner ship amongst over 75s • Without a car the over 50s would cut spending • Driving helps keep older people socially active

Driving is essential to keep the over 50s socially and economically active

The over 50s are playing an increasingly active role when it comes to motoring in the UK, owning more cars and spending more than ever on keeping on the road says a new report.  The research carried out by the CEBR on behalf of Saga Motor Insurance shows that over 50s now account for nearly half of all spending on motor transport and that this spend is increasing faster than that of people under 50.

The over 50s spend on average £57 a week on motor transport, this has grown some 48% since 2000, whereas spending by the under 50s has grown just 32% over the same period.  This growth in spending is partially down to us living healthier and more active lives for longer; there has been a surge in car ownership among the over 75s, 56% of over 75s own a car today, compared to 37% in 2000.

On average the over 50s drive 7,270 miles a year* and spend £23 a week on fuel.  Whilst many over 50s are still in work, the reason for the majority of car journeys they make are for essential every day activities such as shopping and to carry out personal business.  As well as being essential for keeping the over 50 economically active, cars also play a key role in keeping them socially active as well.  The third most common reason for the over 60s to get behind the wheel is to visit friends and the biggest growing reason for travel for the over 50s is to go on a holiday or short trip.

Further research of this age group has shown just how vital having a car is to them and the economy.   The over 50s say that their spending on food and other shopping, entertainment and eating out, would decrease dramatically if they were unable to drive -  a quarter would do their food shopping less frequently and four in ten would reduce the number of trips they made for other shopping such as clothes and items for the home.  Trips to the cinema would be cut by a third and 17% would take less holidays, 37% would eat out less as would even fewer over 80s ((45%).

As well as the economic effect, the social impact on people over 50 should not be underestimated.  A third of people said they would see their friends and family less often if they couldn’t drive, rising to 40% of people in their 80s.

Roger Ramsden, CEO, Saga Services, commented: “The research has shown how vital it is to keep people driving for as long as possible, driving gives people greater independence to do the things they enjoy and to keep them socially and economically active.  We currently insure over half a million people in their 70’s 80’s and 90’s and it is fantastic to see that more people are staying behind the wheel for much longer.

“However there is more that can be done to make it more affordable for people to drive for longer.  Saga is calling for the government to abolish vehicle tax in its current form and instead pass on the equivalent amount via fuel tax, this will make it fairer for many older people who drive fewer miles, but for whom continuing to drive is essential.  Collectively the over 70s would save £300m from this move.  The average driver over 50 would save £20.70 per year and the average driver over 70 would save £84.70.


Notes to editors
*  Populus interviewed 10,015 adults, all aged 50+, online between 15 and 22 January 2015. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information see www.populus.co.uk.

About Saga Motor Insurance
• Saga Motor Insurance is the leading specialist insurance provider for people aged 50 and over, offering cover tailored to their needs
• Pricing is competitive in the market with comprehensive cover available from just £117 a year, Saga Motor Insurance holds a Defaqto 5 star rating
• Saga Motor Insurance is accessible, with UK based call centres and no automated telephone menus
• Saga Motor Insurance offers uninsured driver cover, up to 70% no claims discount, £1,000 of personal belongings cover and vandalism cover
• For more information, visit www.saga.co.uk/insurance/car-insurance or call 0800 015 0756

For further press information, please contact
Angela Clifton
Saga Press Office
01303 776504

Share this page

Get In Touch

The Saga Group Communications Team only deal with enquiries from the media.

If you're not a journalist, visit our contact us page for a full list of telephone numbers.