One in three people regularly use the car for short trips that they admit could be completed just as easily by public transport or on foot.
A poll of motorists revealed that short trips are completed by car largely for convenience, with 97 per cent of those surveyed admitting they could walk, 50 per cent saying cycling is also an option for them, and 45 per cent revealing they could take public transport instead of the car.
While 40 per cent of drivers questioned by car buying site carwow blamed their decision to use the car on running late, more than half (56 per cent) said their choice was influenced by bad weather and more than a quarter (27 per cent) admitted they were just being lazy.
Such short journeys donâ€™t allow carâ€™s emissions control systems to warm up and become fully function, exposing drivers and those around them to disproportionate levels of pollution.
The study asked drivers their main motivations for turning to the car rather than walking, with shopping (81 per cent) the most common reason. The average trip to the shops is four miles, with 15 per cent of people travelling less than a mile to pick up the weekly essentials.
Commuting, visiting friends and family and the school run (all 37 per cent) were the next most common journey types.
Women are more likely to use the car for a short journey than men – 33 per cent say they would use the car to travel less than a mile, compared to 28 per cent of men.
Andrew Hooks, COO of carwow, said that the study showed the British public were still heavily dependent on their cars even amid uncertainty over the future of petrol and diese.
He commented: â€œWe rely on our cars for so many things, no matter the length of the journey.
â€œUntil public transport becomes a constantly reliable option, for many people there is simply no decision to make – the car wins every time.
â€œThat is why drivers need to feel reassured about the future of motoring, with so much confusion over petrol, diesel and electric at the moment.
â€œOnly then will we see longer term decisions being made by motorists in the types of car they are buying, relative to the types of journeys they are undertaking.â€