The average annual cost of motoring has topped £1,800 in the past year, according to analysis by a leading price comparison site. CompareTheMarket.com says the average UK motorist now spends £1,860 a year on driving, including the cost of petrol, insurance, tax and breakdown cover.
According to the site, the cost of running a car has increased by £291 year on year, amid rising insurance premiums and the high cost of petrol. Comparing figures from February 2022 and the same month in 2021, CompareTheMarket.com found the increase in average fuel prices accounted for the lion’s share of that increase.
Using data from the RAC’s Fuel Watch initiative, the company found drivers were spending an average of £955 a year on petrol, with average prices standing at £1.64 a litre. In comparison, the average fuel price was £1.24p per litre during the same month in 2021, allowing an average annual spend of just £722.
However, insurance prices have played their part too, with the average premium amounting to £613 in February 2021. That rose to £673 in February 2022, accounting for around a fifth of the £291 rise in annual running costs.
Intriguingly, the cost of breakdown cover fell slightly, averaging £24 in February 2021, but falling to £22 in February 2022. Of course, that £22 price makes up just over one percent of the total cost of a year’s driving, so such a small reduction is chicken feed in the context of drivers’ overall costs.
And for young drivers, the data suggests motoring is even more expensive. CompareTheMarket.com’s latest research shows drivers aged 17-24 now pay an average of £1,154 on insurance, meaning the average cost of running a vehicle now stands at £2,341.
It should be remembered that CompareTheMarket.com’s figures only account for the cost of insurance, fuel, Vehicle Excise Duty (also known as road tax) and breakdown cover, as well as the cost of an MOT. Vehicle finance and depreciation costs are not included, and nor is the cost of maintenance and servicing.
“Motorists will understandably be worried that the cost of driving is increasing rapidly,” said CompareTheMarket.com director Alex Hasty. “Soaring petrol prices and rising insurance premiums are hitting household finances when budgets are being squeezed by rising inflation and surging energy costs. If these increases continue, there is a risk that driving will become prohibitively expensive for lots of people. Young motorists in particular may struggle to afford to drive as they face much higher insurance costs.
"One way drivers could save money is by shopping around for a cheaper deal on their car insurance ahead of their renewal. Many people leave it until the last minute to switch; however, you could save a significant amount of money by switching earlier. Our figures show that the cost of motor insurance can be £306 cheaper by switching 20 days before the end of a policy compared to the day of renewal.”