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Drivers tell us cutting fuel costs will be a General Election vote winner

Auto Express survey reveals the policies that’ll sway motorists at May 2015’s General Election

General Election

Cutting fuel costs and increasing speed limits are the two key policies political parties need to pursue to secure motorists’ votes in the General Election next May, according to a survey right here on the Auto Express website.

Over 1,000 drivers voted on to give parties a glimpse of vote-winning policies, with more than half (55 per cent) of respondents telling us they’d vote for the party that promised to reduce fuel prices.

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When we spoke to the four main parties (Conservatives, Labour, Lib-Dems and UKIP) in April, none seemed to have concrete plans to do this in the future. Andy Silvester, campaign manager for the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It’s no surprise that, when politicians are forcing up the cost of petrol, drivers want pump prices to come down. In most of the country, driving is a necessity, and it’s not acceptable for the Treasury to use people picking up their children or heading to work as cash cows.”

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While demand for lower fuel prices may not come as a surprise, the second most popular policy was raised speed limits – and debate about this has been raging since we quizzed then-transport minister Stephen Hammond on the plans in June 2013. During that interview, Hammond told us an increase to 80mph was still on the Government’s agenda. But Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin soon quashed these plans.

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RAC Foundation director Prof Stephen Glaister said: “The desire for a higher limit probably stems from frustration. Those routinely caught in jams might argue they need [higher limits] to make up for time lost in congestion. We’d argue drivers need to be able to achieve consistent speeds, not necessarily faster ones. With concerns about air quality and road safety, it’s hard to see any party advocating an increase in the limits.”

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Other key concerns for our users were to reduce the cost of insurance, improve public transport and enforce traffic laws.

Opinion: Chris Ebbs, Auto Express consumer editor

So, Auto Express readers are more likely to vote for the political party that lowers fuel costs. That may not come as a surprise, but what’s more difficult to work out is which party will follow through with this strategy.

In April, we asked the four main political parties – Conservative, Labour, Lib-Dems and UKIP – what they’d do to tackle this issue.

All were quick to talk about how much they sympathised with motorists having to pay such high prices, but in the end they mostly blamed each other for the exorbitant costs and had no significant answer on how they’d actually drop them.

This is the problem. Of course all parties say they want to lower fuel prices, but until one of them actually sets out a committed plan on how to do so, we’ll be left to vote for the party with the most convincing argument – and that ends up being none of them.

What was surprising from our poll was that, for readers, increasing speed limits was the second most popular policy for a party to pursue ahead of next May’s General Election. This has been a controversial topic for the Coalition Government ever since then transport minister Stephen Hammond told us in June 2013 it was still on the agenda, and was quickly rubbished by other ministers.

So, while these may be the priorities for voters, deciding which party to go for seems, as always, as clear as mud.

What motoring policies will get your attention in the 2015 General Election? Let us know in the comments below, on Twitter or on Facebook.

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