The Cost of Driving Crisis: Expenses Affecting UK Drivers in 2024

Whether you’ve just passed your test or you’re a seasoned driver, there’s no denying that running a car can be expensive. When you add up car insurance, tax, fuel, MOTs, any necessary repairs, and then factor in the rising cost of living in the UK, it can feel like too much.

But how much are these costs actually affecting the UK’s motorists? We decided to find out, so we commissioned a nationally representative survey of 2,000 Brits, aiming to understand how motoring expenses and the broader cost of living crisis are affecting UK drivers.

Key findings from our survey

Nearly a third (29%) of drivers across the UK have decided to cut down on their time behind the wheel this year. But what's behind this trend? For those who've considered selling their car, several factors are influencing their decisions.


Reason for selling their car



To buy a new car



I couldn't afford my car due to running costs



Due to the cost of living crisis



Because I use public transport



For environmental reasons



One in five (20%) cars —that's roughly 8 million—are on the verge of being sold because of the soaring costs associated with running a vehicle. It's not just about money, though. Environmental concerns are also making Brits rethink car ownership. In fact, one in seven (14%) drivers have either sold or seriously considered selling their cars to be kinder to the planet. And here's one we didn’t expect: more than one in ten (11%) drivers in 2024 are now favouring electric scooters over traditional driving. 

Car fees and expenses

When it comes to car costs, it turns out that most drivers across the UK are shelling out between £1,200 and £1,800 a year to keep their vehicles running. That's a decent amount of cash, but the costs can really spike depending on your age group. For instance, most Gen Zers are spending double the average, at around £2,400-£3,000 annually.

Clearly, owning a car can be expensive, and with a considerable number of Brits saying they have sold their car or considered doing so due to costs, it's worth looking at what the most expensive aspects are.





Car insurance






General maintenance



Labour and replacement parts/repairs



Tax/vehicle excise duty



Coming in at the top spot is car insurance, with over half (51%) of Brits feeling that this is the most expensive part of running a car. Close on the heels of insurance, a significant 47% of Brits feel that keeping their tank filled is the next biggest financial drain. With fluctuating prices, it's easy to see why so many drivers are feeling the pinch at the pump.

Stats by city

Some regions in the UK are feeling it more than others. In Plymouth, 60% of residents have found it tough to keep up with their vehicle’s running costs. Many are planning to sell or have already sold their cars to manage their budgets better. Similarly, in the capital, the high cost of living has led over a quarter (28%) of Londoners to consider their cars. It's clear that in these areas, the expense of maintaining a car is pushing people to make some tough decisions.

Reason for selling their car


To buy a new car

Birmingham (55%), 
Belfast (50%)

I couldn’t afford my car due to running costs

Plymouth (60%), 
Cardiff (36%)

Due to the cost of living crisis

London (29%),
Bristol (29%)

Because I use public transport

Leeds (29%), 
Belfast, Edinburgh (20%)

Due to environmental reasons

Bristol (29%),
Norwich (29%)

Because I prefer to walk or cycle

Southampton (27%), 
Leeds (21%)

I prefer to use electric scooters

London (18%),
Newcastle (18%),
Glasgow (18%)

Bristol and Norwich are leading the charge when it comes to eco-friendly living. These cities top the green rankings with 29% of residents saying they’re looking to sell their cars for environmental reasons, compared to a UK average of 14%. Meanwhile, over a quarter (27%) of residents in Southampton prefer to walk or cycle instead of drive. It’s clear that these cities are embracing greener, healthier - and arguably cheaper - ways to get around.

Car ownership trends

We also looked into the ways Brits are buying new cars in 2024, and the results were pretty interesting. Half of car owners in the UK (50%) were found to own their cars outright, whereas over a fifth of Brits (22%) have opted to use car finance, spreading out the cost over time. It's a popular choice, especially among the younger crowd. In fact, those aged 25 to 34 are the most likely to have gone down the finance route, with a notable 33% of Millennials choosing this option. It seems like this age group prefers to keep their cash flow flexible, while still enjoying the benefits of having their own car.

Our money saving tips

We’re all about helping people get behind the wheel of their dream rides, so here are our top tips for keeping the cost of motoring under control:

  1. Saving on Fuel
    As our stats show, Brits really do think fuel is too pricey, but there are a few ways to save on this driving necessity. Driving smoothly can improve your fuel efficiency by up to 20%. So avoid rapid acceleration and hard braking. Additionally, reduce the weight and drag on your car by removing unnecessary items from the boot, and avoiding roof racks or carriers when not needed. Fuel trackers can also be a helpful tool to discover how prices are fluctuating near you.

  2. Shop for Affordable Parts and Services
    When your car needs repairs or new parts, shopping around for the best prices can save you a significant amount of money. Compare prices online, as websites and online marketplaces often offer lower prices for car parts than physical stores. Take advantage of coupons, promotions, and discounts offered by service centres and consider purchasing used or aftermarket parts for non-critical components, as these are often much cheaper than brand-new parts and can be just as reliable. Just be careful to check that repairs don’t affect your warranty or the terms of your car loan, for example. 

  3. Refinance Your Car Loan
    Refinancing your car loan can lower your monthly payments by securing a lower interest rate or extending the loan term. Ensure your credit score has improved since you took out the original loan to increase your chances of getting better terms. Car refinance calculators can help gauge what your new deal might look like, and whether savings could be made.

  4. Regularly Check Your Car to Avoid Larger Issues
    Regularly inspecting your car can help you identify and address small issues before they become larger, more expensive problems. Routine checks should include monitoring fluid levels, inspecting belts and hoses for signs of wear, and checking brakes and tyres for any abnormalities. By catching and fixing minor problems early, you can avoid costly repairs down the road and ensure your car runs smoothly and efficiently.

  5. Shop Around for Insurance
    Car insurance can be a significant part of your car-related expenses. Shop around and compare quotes from different insurance providers to find a better rate. Some insurers will even let you insure multiple cars on the same policy, or bundle your car insurance with other policies, such as home insurance, to receive discounts. 

As the cost of living crisis continues, we understand (and have found from our survey) that many Brits are being forced to make tough decisions about car ownership. We hope we’ve shed light on these struggles and also offered some tips to help keep you motoring