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High fuel prices force a third of families to cut visits to relatives

03 September, 2012

Family get-togethers are being pushed to the wayside by the rising cost of motoring, reveals a new study from Hyundai out today.

Most under threat is the traditional Sunday Roast, with six in 10 families saying that they have missed out on the occasion. And it’s parents who are losing out on family get-togethers the most ­– with 30% of Brits saying they simply cannot afford to visit mum and dad.

A fifth of men admitted that they would be happy to give their mother-in-law the boot, while almost one in five families admitted to cancelling visits to their grandparents.

The study revealed that the average family now spends £756 travelling 1,068 miles to visit relatives every year. Petrol costs have soared from an average of 87.9ppl to 134.1ppl over the past five years, a massive 53%, says the study. These rising costs have led to two in five drivers ruling out any kind of trip to see relatives living more than 150 miles away. But Hyundai’s research reveals the closest family member for one in 10 respondents lives more than 100 miles away.

The study was conducted as part of Hyundai’s research into the cost of motoring and its effects on driver habits. The Hyundai i20 offers fuel economy up to 88.3mpg and emissions of just 84 g/km of CO2, as well as a 5* NCAP safety rating, offering families a way to cut their fuel costs.

Feedback from drivers showed that families are losing out in other areas of their lives just to afford a visit. Thirty five percent said that they cut back on family nights out to pay for fuel, while 14% admitted to cutting back on food to run their vehicle.

Driving standards were also revealed to have been dramatically affected. One in five drivers said that they regularly turned their ignition off in traffic, while 27% of drivers even admitted to letting their car freewheel down hills to save on petrol – a practice that is both dangerous and illegal.

Tony Whitehorn, president and CEO of Hyundai UK, said: “The research gave us a great insight into the issues drivers face. We were especially surprised to learn that one in ten drivers would even cut out Christmas visits to relatives due to the cost. Fuel economy is really important to Hyundai and lots of work goes into the continual improvement of the efficiency of our products, which should help keep family ties strong.”

Despite personal cutbacks, travelling by car is still essential for many families. More than half of those surveyed said they travel the same amount as they always have, despite the cost, and 14% admitted to travelling by car more than ever.

Train travel was the most popular alternative to car travel, with 43% of respondents saying they would choose it over a road trip. But one in four families said that despite rising motoring costs, they would still always travel by car.