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The cost of driving

Cars are an essential part of everyday life for many. But the cost of driving is increasing and more drivers are struggling to pay to run their cars.

We’ve explored the total cost of running a car, factoring in speeding fines, fuel costs, city centre parking permits and repair bills to name a few.

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Why is the cost of driving increasing?

Our latest research of 2,000 UK drivers reveals that 3 in 5 (63%) have seen their personal motoring costs increase in the last year. And 1 in 5 (18%) have considered selling their car in the past 12 months.

Fuel is costing drivers collectively around £5.76 billion each year2 and car insurance a further £41.79 billion1. Combine this with expenses from MOTs, repairs and road tax3 and the total for these basic necessities alone is £66.17 billion4.

Our research reveals that...

63%


of UK drivers have seen their personal motoring costs increase in the last year

18%


have considered selling their car to spend less

Key factors contributing to higher costs for drivers include:

Manufacturers are raising prices due to increased production costs and global supply chain disruptions. The market is shifting more towards electric vehicles too, which are typically more expensive than cars with a combustion engine.

Fuel prices are fluctuating at different rates around the country, and supermarkets are pricing competitively. Drivers remain desperate to find the cheapest pump near them, and it seems that these worries aren’t going away.

The cost of repairs and parts are increasing as vehicles are becoming more technologically advanced.

Insurers have increased their premiums following increased claims and to compensate for advanced car technologies which can make repairs more expensive.

Councils are encouraging greener driving habits to tackle congestion and environmental challenges which comes at an extra cost to some drivers.

How does where you live affect how much you pay?

Your postcode and driving routes significantly influence your car-related expenses. While a vehicle's purchase price and road tax are constants, other costs like fuel, insurance, tolls, and parking can fluctuate based on location.

Our analysis3 reveals that London-based driver's bear the brunt of these location-dependant costs. They face steeper charges for insurance, congestion, Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) and parking fees than their counterparts in other regions. The city's higher living standards also mean inflated fuel prices and higher labour rates for repairs.

At the opposite end of the spectrum drivers in the North East of England and Scotland pay the least to their councils for parking-related fees. Research also found that insurance costs are typically lower in Wales, Scotland and the North of England.

3 common costs that affect all drivers, but leave some paying more depending on where they live are:

  • Fuel costs
  • Car insurance costs
  • Fines and other charges

Drivers in South East England pay the highest fuel costs

In 2022, drivers paid £5.76 billion2 in total to fill their tanks with petrol and diesel.

Fuel prices fluctuate based on many factors, from global oil prices, to taxation policies and supply chain costs. In 2022, fuel prices reached more than 200p-per-litre following global events.

A study of fuel prices found that between 2016 and 2022 the most expensive place to buy fuel was in Bedford, in the East of England.

In 2022, the most expensive place for a litre of petrol was South East England at an average of 177.9p. In contrast, the cheapest fuel was found in Northern Ireland, where drivers could fill up for just 168.9p per litre. That’s a 5.3% difference between the two areas.

It’s uncertain how prices might change in the future because of global events. Last year, the average price of fuel per litre was 175.34p, which was up from the previous year at 119.1p.

Total cost to drivers in 2022:

£5.76 billion2

Scotland

£128,232,320

View fuel costs for all regions