Carless days for motor vehicles were introduced to combat the second oil shock. They did little to reduce petrol consumption and were scrapped in May 1980.
Under the legislation all private motor vehicle owners selected a day of the week on which they would not use their car. A coloured sticker on the windscreen indicated the chosen day. It was possible to apply for an ‘X sticker' exemption if the vehicle was needed for ‘urgent business that might require the use of their car on any day of the week’. Those caught on the roads on their designated day off could be fined. Thursday was the most frequently chosen day.
Other measures introduced to reduce petrol consumption included restrictions on the hours during which service stations and garages could sell petrol.
Several factors contributed to the scheme’s ultimate failure. One centred on the issue of exemption. A black market for exemption stickers emerged, as did forgeries. This made enforcement difficult. Households able to run two cars had a distinct advantage over others as they could simply choose different carless days for each vehicle.
Image: a carless day sticker – the owner of this vehicle was not allowed to drive on Thursdays.