The real-world car running costs around the UK revealed

The real-life annual cost of keeping a car running has been revealed by new research, which has also uncovered large regional differences in how much motorists pay.

The research looked at various elements of car ownership, from insurance and tax to commuting and parking costs - but excluding maintenance and repairs - to estimate that the average driver spends £293 a month on their car. 

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Researchers also analysed average earnings to establish that the average UK driver spends just over 15 per cent of their salary on car-related costs. However, the study also found significant variations around the country in terms of outright costs and the proportion of earnings they took up.

Londoners fare worst, spending £404 per month - or 17.6 per cent of their monthly salary - on fuel, insurance, tax and parking. Insurance and parking alone cost the average Londoner £338 a month, although commuting costs are a relatively low £33 per month. 

Car running costs by region (Data: Moneybarn)

# UK Region £ per month of car ownership % of monthly earnings
1 London 404 17.6%
2 South East 315 15.5%
3 West Midlands 307 16.5%
4 North West 306 15.9%
5 Yorkshire And The Humber 297 16.1%
6 Northern Ireland 294 16.0%
7 Scotland 286 14.5%
8 East Midlands 277 14.9%
9 East 274 14.0%
10 North East 256 14.0%
11 Wales 251 13.6%
12 South West 250 13.6%

Drivers in England’s south-east and West Midlands also spend above the national average, with monthly costs of £315 and £307 respectively, equivalent to 15.5 and 16.5 per cent of average regional earnings. 

Those in the south-east face the most expensive fuel prices - at £1.21 per litre - compared with the national average of £1.19. Drivers in Northern Ireland enjoy the cheapest fuel at £1.14 per litre but spend an average of £294 per month in total on their cars thanks to longer commutes and high insurance costs. 

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Drivers in England’s south-west and Wales spend the least on their cars. At £250 and £251, they are well below average and the monthly costs amount to just 13.6 per cent of their monthly earnings.  

Tim Schwarz, head of mMarketing at Moneybarn, which conducted the research,  commented: “It’s really interesting to see the difference in car maintenance throughout the UK. As expected, Londoners have the highest cost for car maintenance, but this balances out as Londoners earn more on average compared to the rest of the UK.

 “It’s also really positive to see the cost of maintenance overall is growing slower than inflation, allowing more people the possibility to own a vehicle."

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