Skip to main content

UK research lifts the lid on British motoring habits and opinions

UK research lifts the lid on British motoring habits and opinions

– Almost three quarters (73.3%) of Britain's commuters who have a vehicle say it is essential for their daily commute
– More than two thirds (68%) of commuters aged 18-30 with access to a vehicle consider it essential for travel to work
– Only one fifth (21%) of drivers have ever driven an electric car
– 60% of adults with a vehicle have never totalled how much they spend on it each year

When looking at car usage and ownership, a new research report into the habits and opinions of the British public on mobility has revealed that the UK is still a nation of car drivers. Almost three quarters (73%) of British workers still believe their vehicle is essential to their daily commute and 72% currently have their own vehicle. Commissioned by Alphabet (GB) Limited, a global provider of Business Mobility, the survey found more than half (55%) of commuters with a vehicle take at least 30 minutes to get to their place of work, with nearly a quarter (24%) now having a commute more than an hour long.

Around 12% of the UK population with access to a vehicle travel to work by means of public transport, with 7% taking the bus, 2.5% using the train and a further 2.5% using other forms such as London Underground or urban tramways. Those with shorter commutes opt for 'active' forms of travel, such as walking or cycling, which equates to just under 9% of commuters nationally.

The reasons cited for choosing to travel by car were varied, although four-in-ten (41%) stated that it was down to convenience. Over a quarter (30%) of commuters surveyed said they drive to work because there are simply no alternative means of transport available, particularly in rural areas.

Over half (58%) of adults do not think that roads in their nearest city or major town are set up appropriately for both cyclists and motor vehicles to share the road safely.

The road to electric vehicle adoption
As for electric alternatives, as part of its 'Road to Zero' strategy, the UK government wants at least half of all new cars to be ultra-low emission by 2030, yet 79% of respondents to the survey say they have yet to try a an electric vehicle and four-in-ten (38%) would like to, indicating that more needs to be done to change public perception of greener vehicles and access to them.

Over half (60%) of people intending to buy a car in the future expressed they would choose a combustion engine vehicle, with a quarter (26%) opting for electric or hybrid and 12% undecided.

Looking further forward, the research showed that Brits still need to be convinced about autonomous vehicles, with 30% of adults expressing that they were willing to travel in one currently.

A European perspective
The report focuses on the UK market, but Alphabet serves customers in 28 markets around the world. Driver and consumer attitudes in other European countries can be markedly different to the UK. Alphabet Spain recently conducted a similar analysis of mobility trends and attitudes in the Spanish market, so it’s interesting to compare the results for both countries.

Regarding electric vehicles, Spaniards mirrored respondents from the UK in their attitudes, with 27% saying they would likely buy an electric vehicle for their next car purchase. However, far less people in Spain (8% versus 21%) have so far had the opportunity to drive one. Interestingly, 30% of adults in the UK would be willing to travel in an autonomous car in the future compared to 93% of Spanish adults.

Simon Carr, Chief Commercial Officer for Alphabet (GB) Limited, comments: "Sustainable transportation is critical to every society. It creates opportunities for economic growth, generates jobs and connects people with the places they need to go. However, the ways in which we can choose to travel have changed greatly over the past ten years. Until now, there has been little insight into why people prefer some modes of transport to others. Our report focuses on the UK public’s attitudes towards how they travel day in, day out, as well as their perceptions of how this could change in future."

The full report can be found here.

Research conducted by Arlington Research for Alphabet GB, using a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults aged 18 and over.


About Alphabet
Alphabet is a global leading provider of Business Mobility. As such, it enables companies to manage their corporate mobility in an economical and sustainable way. Founded in 1997 as a division of BMW Group, Alphabet has extensive knowledge of international fleet management and leasing. Its comprehensive portfolio includes consulting and funding as well as smart management products and services for company fleets. Alphabet's Business Mobility solutions are tailor-made to meet specific corporate requirements.

Today, Alphabet manages a portfolio of over 700,000 leased cars and light commercial vehicles of all makes and is ranked fourth in the market worldwide. Alphabet also pioneers the creation of Advanced Mobility Solutions: AlphaElectric offers companies a holistic approach to eMobility, AlphaCity is the efficient Corporate CarSharing option, the mobility app for smartphones, AlphaGuide, makes life easier for its users and AlphaFlex, the individual, flexible mobility solution, gives employees choices and companies full cost control. Alphabet has its headquarters in Munich, Germany and is now represented in 28 countries.

For more information, please visit


About Alphabet (GB) Limited
Alphabet is Europe’s leading provider of Business Mobility services. Helping organisations to meet their changing business travel requirements and enabling their employees to keep moving efficiently and effectively. 

Innovative mobility products, like the Corporate CarSharing solution AlphaCity, are changing the way UK businesses finance, manage and use company cars. Another pioneering service, AlphaElectric, enables organisations and employees to switch on to the benefits of low and zero emission vehicles.

Alphabet’s portfolio of Mobility services comprises a comprehensive suite of vehicle funding solutions and fleet management including: strategic consultancy, corporate and employee car schemes, commercial vehicles, risk management, vehicle rental, accident management, fleet management and maintenance.

Supporting brands such as Panasonic, Lyreco, Grundfos Pumps and McDonald’s Restaurants, Alphabet manages a fleet of over 138,000 vehicles in the UK and more than 700,000 vehicles across 28 countries worldwide.

For more information, visit