New Research from Auto Trader: Running Cost of Owning a Car is Driving Boom for Smaller Cars

Share Article

New research from Auto Trader, the UK's no 1 motoring website and magazine, shows the cost of owning a car costs the average motorist 10% of their salary¹. This has lead to 1.6 million UK drivers trading in their larger vehicles for more fuel-efficient small cars, with a further 60% of motorists also considering downsizing their vehicle to use for commuting.

The Auto Trader survey also shows that to cut car costs, nearly 60% of motorists have changed the way they are driving to work in order to save fuel - 85% of commuters are now driving smoother, one quarter have found a less congested route to work, 15% now lift-share with colleagues and 2% are even using waste cooking oil to mix with diesel in order to ease the cost of commuting.

The cost of owning a car have increased sharply over the past 12 months. Depreciation² has risen by nearly three quarters since 2007, to now stand at £3,183 a year lost on the average vehicle price and insurance³ has risen by nearly 10% to an average of £483 a year. Road tax has increased by £5 per band, but drivers of family cars such as the Ford Galaxy, Zafira and Renault Espace will see their road tax increase even further to a massive £455 by 2010 - a rise of up to £245.

Today, the average cost of commuting for motorists, which is an average 17.1 mile a day journey to and from work, costs £35.55 per working week. When the expenses of running the car, which includes depreciation, insurance and road tax, the average commute is a staggering £108.84 per working week or £1.27 per mile, which is nearly 30% of the average UK salary.

Fig One: Breakdown of car running Costs For Average UK Worker:
Per Week
Depreciation £61.21
Insurance £9.29
Road Tax     £2.79
Average commute £35.55
Total £108.84

Searches on for city cars and superminis are also on the up, including:

  •     Ford Fiesta - up 12%
  •     Citroen C2 - up 12%
  •     Vauxhall Corsa - up 8%
  •     Citroen C1 - up 7%
  •     Toyota Yaris - up 5%
  •     Toyota Aygo - up 3%
  •     Fiat Panda - up 2%

Matt Thompson, Marketing Director of Auto Trader, comments: "The motorist's wallet is getting pummelled from all angles these days. When you consider the average motorist is spending nearly 10% of their salary on the commute to work - and nearly 30% on owning a car - it is no surprise that in these tough economic times, nearly 60% are considering downsizing their vehicles and changing the way they drive to save expenses.

"We believe that motorists both want, and have to have, a car that they enjoy as public transport simply isn't a viable alternative for most people, so we want to do our bit to help ease the pressure on their wallet. The campaign we are launching today will help the motorist save on average £500 on the cost of motoring.

"We show motorists how they can save money by making small but significant changes such as shopping around for insurance, getting a vehicle professionally inspected before its warranty expires - this will highlight any faults and get them repaired for free.

"Our advice covers all aspects of car ownership, from getting the best deal when buying cars, to how to save money on fuel, insurance and other daily running costs. And we can even help motorists get the most for their car when the time comes to sell.

"Our Cut Car Costs section, which includes hints, tips and advice on how to cut car costs, is available online. We also have exclusive offers available and are currently offering a half price MOT test, in association with Nationwide Autocentres, which means they are reduced the cost to just £26.55 for those motorists who download the special voucher from Auto Trader."

Auto Trader's new Cut Car Costs campaign aims to help every motorist save up to £500 on the cost of motoring. The campaign, which launches today (3rd November 2008), features money-saving tips, advice, video podcasts and exclusive discounts to ensure that all the information
motorists' need on cutting their car running costs can be found quickly and easily.

The first video, from a weekly series of ten, to launch on Auto Trader's Cut Car Costs website is all about shopping around, advising motorists that before they hit the road, they need to get the best quote. Shopping around online for parts and the cheapest car insurance available could save motorists over £200 a year.

Auto Trader makes the world of cars easy, with a one-stop-shop of all things motoring - from new and used cars to insurance and finance - along with advice and solutions to help reduce the cost of motoring for everyone.


1.    The average UK pre-tax wage for a full time adult worker is £457 a week according to the Office for National Statistics 2007.

2.    RAC 2008

3.    RAC 2008

4.    DVLA 2008

5.    Working year based of 48 weeks per annum

6.    Including fuel, car parking and/or toll and congestion charges - this figure excludes wear and tear/tyres/servicing/MOT

7.    All figures are based on searches on in September 2007 and September 2008

Notes to Editor:

  •     With 13 regional Auto Trader magazines across the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and an expanding online presence through, the brand is building a competitive position across all effective channels including print, the web and WAP.
  •     Auto Trader is owned by Trader Media Group, which also publishes market-leading niche titles such as Top Marques, Bike Trader, Truck & Plant Trader, Ad Trader, Motorhome and Caravan Trader, Farmers Trader, Auto Freeway - all with the largest reach in their sectors, through magazine readership and web visitors.
  •     Trader Media Group publishes almost 70 titles every week with a combined circulation of 1.5 million and has leading websites for its top titles.
  •     Trader Media Group, a division of Guardian Media Group, employs over 3,900 people across 40 locations in the UK, Ireland, Holland, Italy and South Africa. The Group is looking to expand on its winning formula: developing a one-stop-shop for motorists; giving trade customers the opportunity to choose all effective channels to market; building the service and relationship with dealers and manufacturers; and strengthening its portfolio of automotive and specialist classified titles.
  •     Trader Media Group is jointly owned by Guardian Media Group and Apax Partners, with GMG as the majority shareholder.

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Karen Hughes
Visit website