So, car insurance.
I am no longer a Young Person according to official statistics. The other day I had to fill in a form and it was with great melancholy I ticked the '25-34' box. As such, today's news stories about the car insurance industry technically don't affect me, as I am theoretically skipping into the world of 25+ married person car insurance. In theory I am stability itself.
So why, exactly, my premiums have gone up is a puzzle.
Cars are essential in today's world. I wish they weren't. I would love to get rid of my car and not have it as a necessity. Unfortunately, this would involve living in an area with decent public transport links, or indeed not working in the countryside. Both of these things are facts in my life, so I pootle on with my car. Mr DG cannot drive, so it's very definitely my car and my bills for petrol, for insurance, for car tax, and for repairs. Weirdly, I found these things slightly easier to afford when I was a student. All of the above bills have shot up exponentially in the seven years since I passed my test.
I have had very few jobs where didn't need my car to get too and from work, starting from pretty much as soon as I passed my test, which I passed about a month before my eighteenth birthday. I have a feeling that every 'group' of friends needs at least one person with a car, which has pretty much consistently been me. It makes finding work easier, it gives you a bigger list of places to live. I would feel a bit lost without my car, now.
I worry about people who have to jump straight into the new world of driving, and how they'll cope with the bills as they rise steadily. I can still afford to keep my car going, although that said my fan belt sounds like it's on the fritz and if it goes before the end of the month I'm going to have to sacrifice a pair of tights and make do. Hell, I can't afford to not keep my car going – there's no way to get to my work by public transport, and the walk would take about six hours on a good day.
I don't know if there's a point to this post, per se, other than to ponder if car insurance firms don't put out daft ideas like 'Make new drivers only drive during the day!' (so sucks to be 20 and work night shifts, then) to try and distract the rest of us from the fact that it's getting more difficult by the year to still run a car. I'm no Jeremy Clarkson, bleating on about my civil rights to drive cars at whatever speed I wish. I'm thoroughly aware of the environmental impact of cars, which if I walk and take public transport everywhere I can. But in this country, if you live outside a major city, a car is a grim necessity.