Drivers saved a combined total of more than £25 billion during lockdown, according to new research. A study by insurance firm Direct Line found car owners have spent £670 a year less than they would normally as the coronavirus pandemic has reduced their dependence on cars.

Despite this, though, the survey of 2,000 British adults revealed drivers are now more likely to own cars as a result of the pandemic. The research found an estimated 1.4 million people have purchased a car for the first time since the coronavirus restrictions came into force last year.

Yet the number of miles driven by the UK’s motorists has dropped massively as drivers were encouraged to stay at home. Assuming the study surveyed a representative cross-section of society, Direct Line reckons an estimated 13.9 million drivers have reduced the number of miles they drive relative to the mileage stated on their insurance policy.

Traffic jam

Individually, the research suggests drivers are making 2.3 fewer journeys each week, which doesn’t sound like much until you multiply it by the number of drivers on the road. Do that, and the UK’s motorists could be cutting their collective total number of journeys by a massive 88 million.

And if that number proves to be accurate, it means fuel is the biggest saving drivers have made since the pandemic began. According to Direct Line, each driver has saved around £20 a month on fuel, and that adds up to a huge £780.6 million for all the country’s motorists put together.

Hand holding fuel pump and refilling car at petrol station

But car owners are also saving on other aspects of ownership. The research suggests they’re spending £13.70 a month less on MoTs and servicing than they were before March 2020, and the average monthly spend on repairs has fallen to £9.90.

However, Direct Line noted a slight increase in the amount drivers are paying to park their cars. Although fewer people have been travelling into towns and cities for work or pleasure purposes, the cost of parking has increased by an average of 50p.

“Lockdown has undoubtedly changed the relationship many of us have with our cars,” said Lorraine Price, the head of motor insurance at Direct Line. “With more people working from home and not being able to leave the house unless for an essential journey, vehicles aren’t moving as much as they used to. While it’s great to see many being able to save some money during these difficult times, it is important to remember to carry out simple checks to ensure cars operate safely when you do need them."