Motor Insurance

Average Cost to Run a Car UK 2024

How much does it cost to own a car in the UK? We've analysed real spending data to find out how much people actually spend to run their cars each year.

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What's the Average Cost of Running a Car in the UK?

In 2024, UK car owners spend over £3,800 to run their cars each year. Besides the purchase price, the biggest expenses of car ownership are petrol or diesel (£1,000+ a year estimated now for most petrol/diesel drivers; less for EV drivers), motor insurance (£600-£700+ a year), and repairs and servicing (nearly £500 a year). In addition, road tax, parking fees & permits, driving lessons, car clubs, fines and other upkeep expenses cost an additional £272 a year per vehicle.

Average Car Running Costs UK
Purchase/Depreciation per year^£1,391
Petrol and Diesel^£889
Car Insurance^^£796
Repairs and Servicing£472
Motor vehicle road tax£175
Parking fees, tolls, and permits (excluding motoring fines)£29
Garage rent, other costs (excluding fines), car washing, etc.£34
Motoring organisation subscription (eg AA and RAC)£15
Driving lessons£10
Anti-freeze, battery water, cleaning materials£5
Motoring fines£5
Annual running costs for a car£3,834

How do costs differ if you drive an electric car? Purchase prices of EVs are generally higher, and depreciation rates are also higher (that is, we think EVs depreciate or lose value faster). For example, our recent research showed that the average purchase price of the 10 cheapest EVs is around £29,000 (the cheapest vehicle being the Smart EQ fortwo coupe, which starts from £22,225). So people driving an EV could have slightly higher lease or depreciation costs compared to what they could pay with a cheap petrol car (e.g. VW Polo and Ford Fiesta models starts from under £18,000).

In contrast, fuel costs less with an electric car—even with high electricity prices. Our research shows that the average cost to fuel a mile of driving in an EV is around 9p/mile, which is about half the cost of petrol for an ICE car (~18p/mile).

Note, these figures are averages across all drivers. In cases where a cost is essentially mandatory, like paying for the vehicle, servicing, petrol, tax and insurance, the averages mentioned above should be pretty reliable indicators of cost for a typical driver; but for expenses that are highly optional and only taken by a small proportion of drivers, like motoring organisations, driving lessons, motoring fines, etc., the average costs listed above are dragged down by low take-up rates—that means if you spend on these items, you will most certainly spend a lot more than the "average" listed for this line item. For example, if you pay a motoring fine, it will certainly cost more than £4! Also, the cost to own a car can vary quite a bit—from year to year (depending on depreciation that is higher for younger cars, if you have major repair work, etc.), person to person (e.g. some people pay a LOT more for car insurance, others less), car to car, etc.

If you're reading this because you're an employer or employee thinking about per-mile expense reimbursements for work journeys, please read more about this topic here.

Trends in the cost to own a car

If you own a car, you probably are acutely that the cost to own and run a car in the UK has increased in recent years. A lot. But how much?

Based on analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics, NimbleFins estimates that the cost to own a car in 2024 is 19% higher than 2020, as costs have risen from £3,225 to £3,834 over this four year time period. This means motorists spend around £600 more per year to operate their vehicles.

Historical trends in the cost to own a car 2020 - 2024

As you can see in the data below, the areas of car ownership that have risen the most are car insurance (up 63%), repairs and servicing (up 31%) and purchase/depreciation (up 25%)—inflationary pressures have hit nearly every area of car ownership.

Average Car Running Costs UK20202024Change (2020 to 2024)
Purchase/Depreciation per year£1,113£1,39125%
Petrol and Diesel£989£889-10%
Car Insurance£488£79663%
Repairs and Servicing (incl spare parts)£359£47231%
Motor vehicle road tax£142£17523%
Annual running costs for a car£3,225£3,83419%

Cost of Cars in the UK

To buy a car in the UK, you can spend anywhere from a few thousand pounds for a used car to tens of thousands of pounds on a new car, or more! The most popular cars in the UK cost in the region of £12,000 to £36,000 to buy new (starting on-the-road prices).

For example, the Ford Fiesta starts from around £18,000. Some cars cost a bit more, however, with the ever-popular VW Golf starting in the mid-£30,000s. Budget-conscious households can save by purchasing a gently-used car and staying away from the trend of buying more expensive cars.

chart showing starting OTR prices of cars in the UK
Cost to buy a car in the UK

Resources such as AutoTrader and Desperate Seller can help those searching for cheap cars for sale.

Car Petrol Costs

For the typical car owner, car fuel costs average out around £1,400 a year (£1,200 for a typical petrol car and £1,550 for a typical diesel, assuming average mileage for each type of 6,300 and 9,400 miles per year, respectively). This depends primarily on the number of miles you drive and the fuel efficiency of your car.

Cost of Car Insurance

The average cost of car insurance in the UK is now £627 a year, but CPIH and Family Spending figures imply even higher premiums, around £796 per year. Even if you buy cheap car insurance, nowadays our tests have shown that not many policies start from under £500[symbol:m-dashs]and these premiums are for the cheapest policies (e.g. they may be lacking features like windscreen cover) and for good, safe drivers of not-very-expensive cars. However, prices can vary significantly from person to person and car to car. Some of the factors that have the largest impact on the price you'll pay for car insurance are your age, the car you drive, your driving record, where you live and where you keep your car at night (e.g., on the road or in a locked garage). If price and customer service are both priorities for you, check out our list of the Top 10 Best-Rated Cheap Car Insurance Companies.

Car Service Costs

While the average amount spent to service and repair a car each year is £472, including parts, car servicing costs can also be quite variable from year to year—and this number will certainly rise due to inflationary pressures. For example, newer cars typically have fewer problems and are under warranty for the first few years, limiting the amount spent on service and repairs compared to older cars. Also, repair and service costs can be quite lumpy from year to year. For example, you'll spend more in a year when your car requires a major service (e.g., every 24 months or 20,000 miles) or if an expensive part breaks on your car.


The cost to drive a car has risen to around 57p per mile, which we calculate by dividing average annual car running costs of £3,834 by average car mileage of 6,700 miles per year. Costs can vary depending on factors like the value of the car, the insurance rate and car fuel efficiency.
For a typical car owner, the cost for every 1,000 of driving is around £570 (since the running costs per mile are 57p).
The average cost of owning a car is around £319 per month in the UK, given average annual costs to own a car.
The average cost of car insurance in the UK is around £627 a year (according to the ABI) or £796 a year (according to the Family Spending survey and inflation stats), or around £60-£75 a month.
The average cost of a car UK ranges from £12,000 to £28,000, depending primarily on the size, spec and car make and model.
The average household spends roughly £1,400 a year on car purchases and financing, representing around 5% of their annual family budget. If it suits your financial situation, you can use this figure as a guide for your own car purchase.
Latest figures show the average cost of gas in the UK is 145p pence per litre for petrol and 154 pence per litre for diesel.
According to analysis of ONS data, NimbleFins calculate that there are 1.18 cars per household in the UK.


To determine how much it costs to own a car in the UK, we analysed family spending data from the Office Office for National Statistics. First, we gathered car-related expenditures for a typical household, such as money spent on purchasing a car, car insurance, fuel, taxes, servicing, driving lessons and other car upkeep costs.

Since this data was per household, we had to convert it to a per car basis by dividing the cost data by the average number of cars per household. We calculate that the average number of cars per household is 1.18 (33,187,308 cars in the UK divided by 28.2 million households). From there, we were able to see how much people actually spend on their cars each year. We also used our own generated data where we had more up-to-date information e.g. regarding the cost of car insurance.

^Petrol and Diesel cost estimates of £889 per car represent average figures from the 2022 Family Spending Report, adjusted for inflation. Note that this figure is lower than our average petrol and diesel estimates in a separate article, because the Family Spending Report figures will incorporate plug-in EVs into the data, essentially bringing down the average 'fuel' cost per car—because it's cheaper to charge a car than put petrol or diesel in, especially if you have a cheap nighttime EV electricity rate from your energy provider.

*^^Car Insurance cost estimate of £796 per car is higher than our separate estimate of the cost of car insurance. Why? The ABI says that premiums are lower now, or £627 on average at the end of 2023; they claim rates have increased a smaller percentage than the official CPIH figures imply for the past year or two. For example, the ABI said that in calendar year 2023, average prices paid were 25% higher than calendar year 2022. But the CPIH data implies that the cost of motor insurance was 45% higher in calendar year 2023 (index 178.7) compared to 2022 (index 123.2). For consistency in this analysis and to be conservative as to potential car running costs, we have used the Family Spending survey data, adjusted for inflation for 2023 and 2024, but keep in mind that if the ABI data is more accurate, then insurance costs may be less. *

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  • Erin Yurday

    Erin Yurday is the Founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.


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