New data from Virgin Money has revealed that St. Helens is the number one car friendly town in the UK, a title it has managed to retain for two years in a row.

How does one become a car friendly town? Well the data from this study looked at factors such as petrol prices, the level of vehicle crime within the area and the cost of parking - all factors which affect drivers, particularly financially.

Since the cost of petrol has risen by around 20% over the past year, due in part of VAT and fuel duty increases, it's likely that the people of St. Helens will be feeling particularly happy about their victory. Drivers throughout the UK are feeling the pinch, particularly with the news of petrol creeping past £6 per gallon, a day which seemed so far away just a few years ago.

The women of St. Helens will also be feeling smug as the debate over same sex car insurance premiums continues, which could see women paying the same for their car insurance as their male counterparts. The EU is suggesting that current regulations which are based on statistics are unfair and sexist, despite protests and complaints from female drivers. While the women of St. Helen will not be immune from this ruling should it happen, they will at least be happy to know they're saving money on other motoring costs, living in a car-friendly region.

Slough was one of the worst regions, which came in fifth last overall. Parking costs were a big factor here with two hours of parking coming to £3.80 compared with the best overall, Stockport at 54p.
James Swindlehurst, leader for neighbourhoods and renewal said : "It is a shame a survey like this concentrates only on issues which involve the expenses incurred by car drivers rather than the whole experience of driving.

"In Slough we have invested time and money in our road network ensuring the road surface is of a high quality, potholes are filled quickly and our roads are safer for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists."

The biggest jump was for the West Midlands town of West Bromwich which rose from 24th in the tables last year, to second place this year, a dramatic jump and one that should make the people of St Helens fearful of their title.

While you may not be willing to jump ship at move to another city simply because its parking is cheaper or car crime rate lower - or then again you might - the study will hopefully highlight what to expect from your city. If you are living in Stockport for example, and paying over the odds for parking, perhaps it's time you did a little research and found out where the cheapest parking spots are. Likewise, drivers should check the fuel price stats to compare it with what they're paying in order to cut down on their motoring costs.