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As the UK economy struggles to find its way out from a period of austerity, people all over the country are looking for ways to save money. Travel is one of the aspects of our lives which it can be difficult to cut out. Whether it's for our work or to visit family members, many of us take trips across the country on a regular basis. Unfortunately, just as travellers begin to tighten their belts, rises in oil prices have had an impact on the amount that it costs to get around the UK.
According to The Daily Telegraph, oil prices have risen by as much as 30% over a four month period. Brent crude oil were trading at around $116.50 a barrel at the beginning of the week and fears over the political situation which is escalating between Israel and Iran mean the future of the oil market remains uncertain.
With the majority of the UK's travel network being heavily reliant on oil for its fuel, customers are finding that travelling is becoming increasingly costly. Hikes in the cost of oil have an immediate impact on the cost of fuel, making travelling by car or plane an expensive business. Increases in taxes on air travel in recent years have also seen a reduction in the number of bargain air fares available. This has meant a decline in the number of people choosing to fly between UK destinations.
The rise in cost of travelling by car or plane has seen a shift in the way people use rail. Rail companies and the government are keen to encourage the use of rail over the roads and skies. This is reflected not only by the efforts made to keep rail fares to a minimum, but also by the investment seen in the creation and maintenance of tracks across the country.
New services running from Inverness to London highlight the commitment to ensuring that the length and breadth of the country is accessible by rail. Improved networks in the east of the country are also encouraging increasing numbers of people to turn to rail in the quest to save money without compromising on convenience.
While the increase in oil prices comes across initially as bad news, it is leading to a revolution in the way in which people travel. Put off in the past by limited routes and high ticket prices, the rail network is now emerging as the transport of choice for a huge number of people all over the UK.
Commuter networks have seen vast investment in on-board technologies, as commuters can now enjoy broadband connections on a variety of trains going in and out of the UK's major cities. Many trains are also provided with power points which enable commuters to get on with last minute tasks as they travel.
Booking in advance is often the best way for travellers to get the best deals on tickets. Without the hassle of filling up at a petrol station or queuing at the airport, booking rail tickets online is another benefit of rail travel responsible for the shift in public opinion.
In fact, the benefit of rail travel is so pronounced that it is even taking over from flights and ferries when it comes to travelling abroad. The advent of the Eurostar means that the UK is now connected to mainland Europe via an impressive rail network – opening up plenty of opportunities for those looking for efficient and effective travel options.