New Zealanders are driving less than a year ago, according to the Lifestyle and Driving Survey by AA Insurance, which was conducted in June and July after the nationwide lockdown.
The main “drivers” behind the driving less trend are those over 30 years old, with only a third of those over 60 now driving daily, the insurer said.
“Kiwis across the board continue to drive less frequently than they did in 2016, despite a small increase in 2018,” said Amelia Macandrew, customer relations manager at AA Insurance. “And it’s a trend that looks set to continue.”
In 2016, 75% of those surveyed said they drove every day. In 2019, it declined to 64% and, this year, it dropped further to 55%. Meanwhile, more Kiwis are saying they drove only a few times a week, from 19% in 2016 to 34% in 2020. The elderly (60+), Wellingtonians, and men all showed decreases in driving.
“Although the lockdowns have influenced this year’s results, they were only temporary,” said Macandrew. “As NZTA statistics show, traffic for work journeys had largely returned to normal after the first lockdown, with Auckland moving towards a recovery after the second lockdown to match the steady national recovery. Our data showed a similar picture, with claim numbers back on track by July, and our repairers outside Auckland remaining busy throughout.”
Some of the most cited reasons for driving less were: changes in working needs (such as working from home), increased use of public transport, location changes, and concern for the environment.
According to the insurer, the trend is expected to continue over the next three to five years, with Kiwis significantly more likely to say that they’ll actively use their car less in the future (31%) than in 2019.
Majority of respondents said that they’re considering buying a hybrid vehicle (72%) or an electric vehicle (69%). Interest in alternative modes of transport is also growing, with 15% of Kiwis saying that they want to begin using electric bikes and scooters over the next three to five years.