'Share cars to save money'

HARD-PRESSED motorists hit by new year increases in fuel duty and VAT are being urged to consider car-sharing as a way of cutting their petrol and diesel costs.

Hartlepool Borough Council says drivers could save themselves hundreds of pounds a year by signing up to 2PlusTravel.

The free website enables people to find others who travel in the same direction, so that they can share journeys.

This could involve taking turns with the driving or giving someone a lift in exchange for a contribution to the cost of fuel.

Robert Snowball, the council's sustainable travel officer, said: "Petrol prices are already significantly up on this time last year.

"We have just had a further 3.5p on a litre and there is the prospect of further rises still to come.

"However, the typical commuter who car-shares every day saves around 800 a year, while those who manage to fill all their spare seats often save in excess of 2,000.

"Car-sharing can make a huge difference to your wallet."

But there are still many drivers who are unaware of just how easy it is to find people to share with. 2PlusTravel is completely free to use, and it only takes five minutes to sign up and search for suitable matches."

The 2PlusTravel website can be accessed by logging onto www.2plustravel.com