The British motorist and the oil crisis

Date of publication: August 1, 1975


This paper describes how motorists in the United Kingdom reacted to a series of events following the Arabs-Israeli war of 1973. These events include petrol shortages, both threatened and actual, appeals to save fuel in the national interest, both voluntary and statutory speed restrictions, and a series of unprecedented increases in the price of petrol. By combining behavioural data from a diary panel with Public Opinion and depths research it has been possible to gain an understanding of motorists attitudes and reactions for predictive purposes. It is concluded, inter-alia, that the classical economic price elasticity would not apply to this situation, at least in the short runs. A tentative model relating information and experience to attitudes and behaviour is suggested.

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