Perhaps inevitably, yesterday’s autumn statement from the Chancellor saw the planned fuel duty rise cancelled.
The move drew contrasting praise and criticism, not least from the Institute of Advanced Motorists and Sustrans.
“Cancelling the rise in fuel duty will help to keep Britain’s economy moving," claimed IAM chief executive Simon Best. "It’s not just good news for motorists – from supermarket food deliveries to life-saving emergency services, the nation depends on its roads. This is a saving for everyone."
Best addded: “Cyclists, motorcyclists, car drivers, lorry drivers and bus and coach passengers should all welcome the £1 billion investment to our roads. Newer roads are safer and should cut journey times.”
However sustainable transport charity Sustrans said cutting fuel duty and building more roads would actually do little to boost the economy or make it easier for many to get around, arguing for a transport system that everyone can use.
According to the charity, two-thirds of jobseekers are without access to a car and there has been a drop in young people learning to drive. Therefore, said Sustrans, providing a transport system for all is crucial to the country’s economic recovery.
Sustrans chief executive Malcolm Shepherd said: “By continuing to invest in and promote car travel the Chancellor is ignoring the real world and risks leaving millions more people stranded.
“Oil prices are only going up – already a quarter of people don’t have access to a car and the cost of owning one is a major source of debt for millions more.
"Affordable public transport and better walking and cycling routes are desperately needed to give everyone the chance to access jobs, education and services now and in the future.”