In the past two years, the cost of getting on the road has shown a steady and noticeable increase. Factors such as rising fuel prices, escalating insurance premiums, and the ever-increasing price tags of vehicles have collectively contributed to this growing expense. Additionally, maintenance and repair costs have surged, making it even more challenging for individuals to keep their vehicles roadworthy without breaking the bank.
Learning to drive in itself is a costly endeavour, with several financial aspects to consider. First and foremost, there are the expenses associated with obtaining a driver’s license – such as driving lessons, which come with their own price tag, further adding to the initial investment required to hit the road legally.
However, the cost of driving stretches far beyond these upfront expenditures. Once a new driver has successfully obtained their license, they embark on the journey of vehicle ownership, which comes with its own set of ongoing financial commitments. Vehicle maintenance and repairs are inevitable aspects of car ownership, with regular servicing, oil changes, tyre replacements, and unexpected breakdowns potentially impacting new drivers’ budget.
To uncover the financial aspects associated with entering the world of driving, we conducted a thorough data analysis of car-related expenditures, encompassing both recurring and one-time costs. The results show a stark financial reality for new drivers in 2023.
How much does it cost to drive?
The research uncovers a significant increase in costs for first-time drivers, with the average price of getting on the road standing at £11,137 in 2023, a notable increase from just two years ago when the expense amounted to £7,592.
Our findings highlight the most significant expenditures facing new drivers in 2023. These include purchasing a new car, with the average price of a first-time car now standing at £6,600; insurance costs for the year at £1,414; and driving lessons amounting to £1,238, based on the average 45 hours of lessons new drivers require.
Fuel expenses for the first year of driving also total £983, and car repair bills average £369. Collectively, these expenses make for a substantial financial commitment, as new drivers must allocate an astounding £11,137 on average to embark on their journey behind the wheel.
There is a staggering difference between prices now and prices two years ago. In fact, new drivers can now expect to pay £3,545 more on average, amounting to a 47% increase in total cost. The most significant spikes have occurred in the prices of the average first car and fuel, soaring by a staggering 85% and 67%, respectively.
Full breakdown of ongoing and one-off expenses for new drivers’ first year of driving between 2020-2021 compared to 2022-2023:
|Average price of a first car||£3,562||£6,600|
|Average car insurance for new drivers||£1,409||£1,414|
|Driving license application||£17||£17|
|Total one-off expenses||£6,345||£9,388|
|Car repairs, servicing & other work||£317||£369|
|Car accessories and fittings||£10||£16|
|Car spare parts||£83||£109|
|Motoring organisation subscription (e.g. AA and RAC)||£72||£90|
|Anti-freeze, battery water and cleaning materials||£5||£5|
|Total ongoing expenses||£1,247||£1,749|
Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director at Heritage, comments:
“Getting on the road for the first time can be an exhilarating experience and it’s surely a milestone in every young person’s life. It gives you that sense of independence and the freedom to explore the world around you, which everyone should be able to experience.
“The research uncovers the stark new financial reality that learner drivers face in 2023, where not everyone might be able to afford the joy of driving for the first time. For those looking to keep the costs down, a classic car can be a great budget-friendly option.”