But it still costs the average 17-year-old more than £2,000 a year to run their car.

Young drivers’ car running costs have fallen to their lowest level since 2015, according to research published this week. The study by price comparison site CompareTheMarket.com studied the cost of insurance, fuel, road tax and breakdown cover, and found the average 17-24-year-old driver pays more than £2,000 for their first year of driving.

Although it’s clearly a large amount, CompareTheMarket.com says the average of £2,074 is the lowest average since 2015. It’s also £296 cheaper than last year – a drop that follows years of steadily rising prices.

Much of the change in cost is driven by the cost of insurance, which makes up more than half (53 percent) of the average young driver’s costs. Thanks to the pandemic, insurance prices have fallen dramatically, with the average 17-24-year-old’s first-year insurance premium now standing at £1,095. That’s down £169 on last year, and the lowest rate since CompareTheMarket started its annual study in 2012.

Young driver businessman

And the company says young drivers ‘cheapest premium’ – the cheapest quote they get, rather than the policy they choose – also fell by £113 over the past year, down to an average of £918. That suggests switching to a cheaper policy could save young drivers £177 in their first year behind the wheel.

But insurance hasn’t done all the legwork. Annual fuel costs have fallen with the price of petrol, and the expectation drivers will cover fewer miles in 2021. On average, CompareTheMarket.com says a young driver will cover 7,347 miles a year, spending £763 a year at the pumps. That’s down from £884 in 2020, when the average young driver covered 7,480 miles.

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at CompareTheMarket.com, said the news would be welcomed by young drivers, particularly given the pressures of the past year.

“Young people will be relieved that the cost of driving has fallen so dramatically and this will hopefully ease some of the financial strain many are under,” he said.

“With young drivers paying the highest insurance premiums, the recent drop in prices should prevent policies from becoming prohibitively expensive but the biggest savings will only be available to drivers who shop around for the best deal. Young drivers should also remember to speak to their insurer if their current or expected mileage has reduced due to the pandemic, to see if a reduction in premium is possible, and explore whether a telematics based policy could be cheaper for them.”

Newly qualified young man sitting in car