Londoners ‘attached’ to car ownership

Two thirds of car-owning Londoners would find it hard to give up their car — new research by the car-sharing provider Zipcar has suggested.

Despite this, around 84% of those surveyed as part of the company’s ‘Carscape’ report, were concerned about the city’s high levels of air pollution and congestion.

Many car-owning Londoners are reluctant to ditch their cars in favour of other transport options, research by Zipcar has suggested

The report, published today (1 November), looks at attitudes towards car ownership and travel within the capital — including likely future purchasing trends.

Findings suggest that despite declining sales, diesel cars still remain a viable option for Londoners, with around 18% of car owners suggesting that they were considering diesel for their next car, in particular due to the cost of ownership.

High costs of vehicles (37%) and lack of charging options (35%) are listed as the top reasons why electric cars are still not being considered as a viable option for many Londoners, with just 2% currently owning an electric car.


According to Zipcar, ‘there remains a strong attachment to the car for London car owners’, with many using theirs for shopping (49%) and longer journeys out of town (46%) versus daily needs like work and school commutes.

Commenting on the research, Professor Frank Kelly, Professor of Environmental Health, King’s College London, said: “While the number of privately owned cars in the capital has seen a decrease in recent years, Zipcar’s insightful report shows that London car owners remain very attached to their vehicles. And it’s not surprising really — like home ownership, car ownership has been a staple of everyday British life for many years and something people still aspire to.

“But attitudes need to change, and in the same way that ‘Generation Rent’ Millennials are facing up to the fact that home ownership is no longer a given, car ownership is facing a similar challenge. Hopefully we’ll see a significant shift in attitudes in the coming years.”

Currently around 230,000 people are signed up to the Zipcar service in London, which is adding 325 zero-tailpipe emission e-Golfs to its London fleet, to meet increased demand for zero-tailpipe emission options.

The new fully electric Zipcar E-Golf (Picture: Amit Lennon)

Zipcar says the report indicates that car-sharing services are ‘finally taking off in the capital’ — with membership of its own service having grown by 25% in 2018.

Jonathan Hampson, general manager for Zipcar UK, said: “Despite all the progress in recent years there remains a deep-rooted attachment to the car, which means that change in shifting attitudes is a real challenge. That’s why we need strong action by companies like ours, as well as by the GLA and TfL, if we are to make positive, tangible changes to our city and environment.

“The Mayor has set out bold plans in his Transport Strategy to reduce car reliance and change attitudes; plans which we find encouraging and fully support, but we are also calling for more radical and immediate action. We want to work with City Hall, the Councils, partners and Londoners to help continue existing momentum and help changes happen now.”


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