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UK Households Say No To Electric Cars

62 per cent say they won’t switch from petrol or diesel as new report shows sustainability is being impacted by cost-of-living. 


Almost two thirds of households in the UK say they won’t switch to an electric vehicle, according to research from the UK’s largest gas distribution network, Cadent, as part of its ‘Energy Diaries: Fair Sustainability’ report. 

Within this group, 34 per cent are adamant they will never make the change, despite numerous studies concluding that electric models of transport are more environmentally-friendly and efficient to run.

Among the barriers preventing people from packing in petrol and diesel is likely cost, as Cadent’s findings show 74 per cent think being sustainable is expensive. 

While EVs often have lower running costs than petrol and diesel vehicles, the upfront price is 30-40 per cent higher according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The latest data from the organisation also reveals sales of electric vehicles have flatlined – the first time the market has failed to grow since 2018. 

Cadent’s report, in partnership with Thinks Insight, reveals that overall, two thirds of UK households are struggling to be sustainable because they simply can’t afford to be. Accordingly, 66 per cent said they won’t install solar panels at home and more than half (54 per cent) won’t be changing their central heating for a more fuel-efficient system. 

The research highlights that despite 53 per cent of people believing it’s important to be ‘greener’, managing bills is the priority. Most sustainable behaviours adopted – such as turning the heating down, using less water and buying second hand clothing – have been actioned to save money. 

Mark Belmega, Director of Social Purpose and Sustainability at Cadent, said: “While some households are taking steps to reduce energy usage, they are doing so to save money. So when cost becomes a barrier for more major changes, like buying an electric vehicle, the desire to be sustainable significantly wanes. 

“It’s crucial the energy industry, government and the wider business community collaborate to support all customers with their energy transition journey. It’s crunch time for net zero but UK households need help to become greener. 

“Our Energy Diaries project is a strong step towards helping our customers live more affordable, sustainable lives. Exploring their experiences first-hand enables us to co-create solutions with the industry to help address increases in the cost of living while working towards a more sustainable future.”  

As the UK’s largest gas distribution network and a provider of a critical service to over 11 million customers, Cadent has a responsibility to help keep people safe, warm and independent in their homes. The Energy Diaries series follows the real-life experiences of consumers and their energy use, with the latest study focusing on sustainability against the cost-of-living backdrop.

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ENDS For further information: Maddy Bancroft / Lisa French at Truth PR on 0161 238 9820 or email [email protected] / [email protected]  About Cadent Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy. We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change. Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency. Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. Future of Gas  Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come. Cadent manages the national gas emergency service free phone line on behalf of the gas industry – 0800 111 999. All calls are recorded and may be monitored. Cadent Gas Ltd is owned by a consortium of global investors.

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