Irish motorists are cutting costs to manage cost-of-living crisis

Published on 12 July 2023
Liberty Consumer Spotlight on Motor costs
  • Research from Liberty Insurance examines how Irish drivers have been cutting their motoring costs
  • One quarter delaying servicing or reducing vital maintenance spend
  • Two in five (43%) using car less over last six months • Large number of motorists making changes to motor insurance

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to affect Irish customers, new research by Liberty Insurance has found the most common changes motorists in the country have been making to try and reduce the costs of running a car.

The results of a study published today* has found that over the past six months, motorists have made or considered a wide range of measures including cutting back on car use, switches to public transport, changes to their motor insurance cover and even delaying necessary servicing of their vehicle.

  1. Delaying or reducing maintenance

Even when their cars need repairs and maintenance, a considerable number of Irish motorists have been looking to cut costs this year by reducing what they spend, or even postponing entirely servicing their car. More than one in seven motorists (15%) said they had put off servicing their car in the last six months, even when it was needed. A similar number (12%) said they were spending less on maintenance than previously.

  1. More than two in five motorists have reduced their car usage

43% of respondents said they had reduced how much they use their car over the past six months. Three in ten motorists (30%) said they had started walking or cycling more, while 25% have increased their use of public transport. In Dublin, where travel distances are typically shorter and there are often more public transport options, these numbers increase to 40% and 41% respectively.

  1. Shopping around for car insurance

Over a third (37%) of insurance owners said they had shopped around more for motor insurance cover in an effort to cut costs. One in every eight motorists (12%) has switched provider, while 4% of motorists have actively reduced the level of their motor insurance cover.

  1. Selling the car

While selling their car is the ultimate step in reducing the cost of motoring, less than one in ten (9%) of Irish customers have considered this, and either sold, or thought about selling, their car in the last six months.

José Luis García Camiñas, Product Leader for Liberty Seguros in Europe said:

“The findings of this research are of significance for us all and show how Irish motorists have been responding to the continuing challenges presented by the rise in the cost-of-living.

“When it comes to safety, we would never advise motorists to cut back on essential maintenance and servicing. Ensuring your car is roadworthy, and safe for you and other motorists is of the utmost importance. Keeping your car in good condition also helps to prevent larger costs down the road.

“Irish motorists have become increasingly savvy when it comes to motor insurance. If your circumstances have changed, it may be appropriate for you to adjust your cover accordingly, and you should speak to your insurer about your options. At Liberty, we want to make things better and be open. To help with this, we offer modular products across different markets, so customers only pay for what they need.

“That people have been reducing their car usage reflects not only the rise in costs, but changes to how we live and work. As we have at Liberty, many businesses have embraced remote working so that people have to commute less, which as well as helping with work-life balance, can also reduce the costs of travel, and help to lower our carbon footprint as a society."


*Note this research was conducted in March and April 2023 prior to the increase in fuel excise duties on 1 June 2023


Research note

Research commissioned by Liberty Insurance and carried out by RED C as part of an online survey. 510 interviews were conducted online during this period amongst a nationally representative sample of home insurance owners aged 17-75. Quotas are set on gender, age, social class and region.

Simultaneous research was carried out on the same topics in Spain (804 adults) and Portugal 503 adults) by Kantar.