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How Much Does It Cost to Run a Car in the UK?

Written by, Marija Petkova

Updated August, 16, 2022

Most car owners know how much they paid for their car and what it costs to fill up the tank. But, tracking the annual car maintenance costs that come with owning a car is a bit trickier to track.  

So, how much does it cost to run a car in the UK?

Let’s do the maths.

Average Car Expenses in the UK

Every year, car drivers in the UK pay more than £3,000 to keep their cars running. Some of the things that add to the cost of owning a car in the UK include:

  • Fuel (petrol or diesel): ~ £950 a year
  • Motor insurance: ~ £500 per year
  • Repairs and maintenance: ~ £300 per year

Road tax, parking fees, licencing, driving tests, auto clubs, registration add another ~ £300 per vehicle annually.

Car Running Costs

Let’s take a look at some of the most fundamental car running costs.

Car Petrol

The cost of fuel is determined by whether your car runs on electricity, diesel, or petrol. What’s more, everything from the type of fuel to the amount of fuel can drastically affect the total annual fuel costs.

Drivers whose vehicles run on petrol  pay an average of £1,000 on a yearly basis, while diesel drivers spend around £1,300. These numbers primarily depend on the fuel efficiency of your car and how many miles you drive. The electricity required to charge electric cars would be generally half of petrol costs especially when charged at public stations.

Fuel-saving tip: Maintaining a steady pace, slowing down gradually, cleaning air filters regularly, and keeping appropriate tyre inflation can save on fuel and the costs that come with it.

Services and MOT

The most basic MOT package is around £60, though it depends on the type of car you own. What’s more, only drivers whose cars are older than three years old are required to take the test once a year. 

Battery replacement, on the other hand, ranges from $45 to $250, and the average service costs around £270 a year. 

Another car cost that Brits usually spent on is car remapping, which costs around between £200 and £400.

These costs usually vary from year to year and depend on how much you use the car and whether you own a newer model. 


The average repair bill can cost between £406 to £833, depending on the manufacturer.

It’s difficult to pinpoint how much a regular driver might spend on maintenance and repair in a year because many small things can add to the cost.  However, on average, electric car drivers spend less on repair services. That’s because electric cars have fewer machine parts.

Repair service might cost less if you buy yourself a new car since they come with a warranty and have fewer problems.

But don’t take car maintenance lightly because covering important checks are crucial to passing the MOT test. Failing this could potentially cause you not being covered by insurance and you could get caught driving without one and you could get caught driving without one.

Car Standing Charges

Standing expenses include taxes, insurance, and breakdown coverage expenses.

Car Insurance

Insurance can be expensive but it can also save you a good amount of money in case of an accident. UK drivers can usually choose from 3 types of car insurance:

  • Third-party insurance  – This is the cheapest insurance available to drivers. It only covers the potential damage to other vehicles or drivers on the road when the insured is at fault.
  • Third-party fire and theft insurance- It provides the same coverage as third-party insurance, plus damage caused by fire or robbery.
  • Comprehensive insurance – It covers everything in the basic packages, as well as any damages to your own vehicle.

The average cost of auto insurance is £500 per year. Insurance companies look at the car’s type, your age, any past claims, and how long you’ve been a driver to determine how much to charge you for insurance. For example, the average cost of insurance for those who are 65 years old and above go around £258 annually.

Breakdown Coverage

Breakdown cover ensures that if your car breaks down and is no longer drivable, you can call breakdown services and they will send you a team to tow or repair your car on the spot. Most breakdown services offer 24/7 assistance and can even take you to your desired destination, like the airport. 

Breakdown coverage can cost anywhere between £20 and £156 dollars, depending on what’s included in the package.

Car Tax

The first year of road tax ranges from £0 for zero-emission cars to £2,245, depending on the number of carbon emissions. The annual flat rate of road tax is £155. Drivers with alternatively fuelled vehicles get a £10 annual discount.

After the first year (unless the car is zero-rated), cars with a sale price of less than £40,000 pay an annual supplemental tax of £335 for the next five years.

Bottom Line

Car expenses in the UK depend on a variety of factors, including car type, fuel type, engine type, and driven miles, among other things. If you’re planning on getting yourself a car, it’s best to do your research and factor in the cost of car ownership to make sure it’s within your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

Are cars expensive in the UK?

The average cost of a car in the United Kingdom ranges from £12,000 to £28,000, depending on the size and model of the vehicle. Keep in mind that some car dealers may accept credit cards as your choice of payment.

How much is a UK MOT?

The cost of an MOT test varies depending on the type of car you own. On average, it costs around £54.85. 

How much does it cost to maintain a car in the UK?

If you’re wondering how much does it cost to run a car in the UK, the number is over £3,000 on an annual basis.

My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.