By Daniel Hunter

The poorest ten per cent of car-owning households in the UK are mired in transport poverty and are spending at least 27% of their disposable income on buying and running a vehicle. This equates to roughly 800,000 homes.

By contrast, those in the wealthiest car-owning households are spending around 12% of their disposable incomes on purchasing and operating a car.

Of a total weekly expenditure of £167, those in the poorest car-owning households see £44 go on vehicle-related purchasing and operating costs.

Of the £44, £16 is used to buy petrol and diesel and £8.30 is spent on insurance.

The high level of expenditure is revealed in analysis of previously unreleased data from the Office for National Statistics which has been seen by the RAC Foundation.

“These figures should shock the Chancellor. We already knew transport was the single biggest area of household expenditure bar none. But this spending breakdown just for car-owning households is not normally available. It lays bare the truth about the extent of transport poverty in the UK," Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said.

“There is understandable concern about home owners having to spend more than 10% of their money on heating their houses. But to most of us transport is another essential item and our outgoings on getting about eclipse all other domestic bills.

“George Osborne will soon deliver his budget and is likely to tinker with the rate of fuel duty. For people already drowning under the weight of motoring costs, cutting a penny or two off the price of a litre of fuel will help but is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic - ultimately futile. To make any meaningful difference to those on the lowest incomes the rate will need to be cut much further.”

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