Cost of owning a car UK: Londoners spending £3000+ despite car sitting idle 99.5% of the time

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Driving statistics
Cost of owning a car
Average car journeys
Cost of living
Car sharing

UK driving statistics

Almost 1/3rd of London drivers are paying thousands every year despite their car sitting idle 99.5% of the time, a Cuvva survey has revealed.

The survey found 31% of London car owners use their car between 0 and 10 times a month - with it sitting unused on the driveway the rest of the time.

With the average UK car journey taking 21 minutes according to the Department for Transport's 2022 National Travel Survey, this means 1/3rd of Londoners are only spending between 0 and 210 minutes on the road each month - despite the eye-watering annual costs of owning a car.

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Costs of UK car ownership

According to Transport for London, the average car owner spends £3,186 in Inner London and £3,502 in Outer London each year on their car’s running costs (including insurance, fuel and maintenance).

This means a Londoner who drives 10 times per month pays between £1.26 and £1.39 for every minute they’re on the road, depending on location.

This means the average 21-minute journey for a London car owner would cost between £26.46 and £29.19.

The cost of owning and running a car can stretch into the thousands
The cost of owning and running a car can stretch into the thousands

Average car journeys in the UK

Londoners drive less frequently than those from any other region, and far above the national average, according to the Cuvva poll.

Region % of Drivers (0-10 times per month)
London 31%
East of England 28%
South West 24%
South East 21%
Wales 21%
East Midlands 20%
Yorkshire and the Humber 19%
North West 17%
West Midlands 17%
North East 16%
Scotland 16%

National average for Britain: 21%.

Cost of living and car ownership

Unsurprisingly, our survey also revealed London’s car owners are most worried about the costs of owning a car, amid a cost of living crisis in Britain.

According to the survey, 64% said they were ‘very worried’ or ‘moderately worried’ when asked: ‘How worried are you about the cost of running and insuring your car?’

This was compared to a national average of 57%.

% of drivers in region worried about the cost of car ownership:

Region % Worried
London 64%
Wales 63%
Scotland 60%
South West 58%
North West 57%
East Midlands 56%
East of England 56%
West Midlands 56%
North East 52%
South East 51%
Yorkshire and the Humber 51%
Car sharing instead of owning a car could save drivers thousands per year
Car sharing instead of owning a car could save drivers thousands per year
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Car sharing instead of owning

Drivers could save money by using temporary car insurance to borrow a car whenever they need to instead of owning one.

Cuvva’s 1 hour policies start from £11.07, meaning an infrequent driver who makes 5 trips a month might only pay £51.95, rather than possibly shelling out hundreds of pounds each month on insurance, parking, maintenance costs, car tax and MOT costs.

Darryl Bowman from Cuvva said: “People are using their cars less and less but the cost of owning and maintaining a car continues to soar.

“If you only need a car a few times a month, borrowing one from friends and family when you need to get around is a good alternative. You could slash your household bills and save thousands of pounds annually.

“Essentially you can insure yourself to drive anyone’s car with flexible, short-term policies - meaning you no longer need to own a car to drive one.”

It only takes a few minutes to get a quote.

OnePoll, on behalf of Cuvva, surveyed 2,062 full-licence car-owners. The drivers, aged 18+ and based in Britain, were surveyed between 22 August and 1 September 2023.

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Updated on 10th January 2024