It’s interesting how expenses like food, fuel, and so on impact how one plans out their commute to the office, vacation destinations, and so on. We did this in the states to a lesser extent when planning a road trip through the southwest. In the UK prices are so much higher, planning for these incidental costs is a necessity. For instance, a liter (litre in the UK) of diesel cost me today £1.07. Filling up the tank normally costs around £60 (roughly a $120 or $8.50/ gallon). Petrol is similar in cost, but cars which use petrol tend to be less fuel efficient (30 MPG vs 45 MPG). To make things more complex, I don’t know if the miles per gallon numbers are in Imperial (4.5 liters) or US (3.8 liters) gallons (I’ll assume US).
Nevertheless, I’ll use commuting costs as an example. I fill up the car about once every two weeks or around 600 miles. In the states, we drove two cars (which used petrol) and probably filled up once per week for a total of over 1200 miles every two weeks. If we assume the US cars have 14 gallon tanks and the petrol price is $3 per gallon, the total cost is $84. The US price is almost $40 cheaper for twice the driving.
With little twisty roads, lots of roundabouts (i.e. rotaries), and only a few real motorways (highways), it’s no wonder why folks look at other forms of transportation. Taking the car into London seems mad, when the cost of parking and fuel is a little less than getting a travel card which includes full underground access/ mobility. Not to mention driving in a city like London is a hair raising experience (even with a SatNav system). So, its no wonder why most people chose to take the train into London rather than drive.