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"How are you getting there?” New research shows giving free lifts to friends is driving young people around the bend

14 February 2014

A new study of young drivers by comparison site Gocompare.com has found that a quarter (24%) of motorists aged between 17 and 25 begrudge being an ‘unpaid taxi driver’ to their friends, with 5% going as far as saying that being the main or only driver in their group of friends sometimes causes tension.

The survey showed that 60% of young drivers give lifts to friends, with almost a third (29%) claiming that they enjoy being able to drive their non-driving pals around. However, 11% admitted their lift-giving has led to their friends taking them for granted.

It’s not just small fares that these drivers’ unpaid taxi service is covering. Nearly a third (29%) said that they drive between six and 10 miles out of their way each week to give friends lifts, and one in 10 (11%) estimated that they drive an extra16-20 miles per week without receiving any contribution towards fuel or other running costs.

Most motorists can attest that petrol isn’t cheap and it seems that young drivers’ generous nature is leaving them seriously out of pocket. A fifth (20%) said that giving lifts cost them £11-£15 a week, with one in 10 (12%) claiming that driving others around leaves them out of pocket by £16-£20 per week or an average of £936 a year.*

Despite 20% of young drivers admitting that they often struggle to keep their car on the road due to the running costs, less than a quarter (24%) said that they always accept petrol money when it’s offered by passengers. However, one in five (18%) claimed that they are never offered money for petrol by their friends for driving them around.

It seems that drivers are right to feel hard done by, as nearly a fifth (19%) of non-drivers who often get lifts from their friends confessed that they do so as it’s cheaper than public transport. A further in one five (21%) non-drivers admitted that they thought car ownership was too expensive and meant they ‘haven’t bothered to learn to drive’, with one in 10 (11%) non-drivers  saying that they felt like they didn’t need to drive as they could rely on others to transport them around.

Lee Griffin, chief operating officer at Gocompare.com, said: “As a father, I sometimes feel like ‘I’m not a taxi’ is my personal catchphrase, so it’s interesting to see a quarter of young drivers feel the same.

“However, it’s concerning  that some young drivers are being left seriously out of pocket thanks to their friends, especially when a fifth (20%) of young drivers are struggling to keep their cars on the road due to running costs.

“Young drivers already face some of the highest insurance premiums in the UK, with the average premium for those aged 17-25 standing at £1,617, more than double the price those in their 30’s pay**.

“If you find that being a chauffeur for your friends is stretching your finances you should tell them as they may not be aware of the costs involved, especially if they don’t own a car themselves. Don’t be afraid to ask for a contribution towards the cost of the journey, as you’ll likely find most people are more than willing to chip in, even if they require a little nudge to do so.

“Don’t forget, there are a host of ways to save money on your motoring costs, for instance, shopping around on your car insurance could save you up to £239 a year***, so it’s well worth looking around and to see if you can drive down the costs of motoring.”


Notes to editors:

Based on research commission by Gocompare.com and carried out by One Poll on the 20/11/2013 with 1,000 young UK adults aged between 17-25.

*12% of drivers said that driving their friends around leaves them £16-£20 out of pocket. The mean average of that cost range is £18. £18 x 52 = £936 per year.

** Based on actual Gocompare.com customer data from Jan – December 2013. The average car insurance premium for the age group 17-25 was £1,617 compared the average cost of the age group 30-39 which was £637.

***Based on independent research by Consumer Intelligence during 1 December, 2013 to 31 December, 2013: 51% of consumers could achieve a saving of up to £238.51 with Gocompare.com car insurance