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New INRIX Study Reveals the Hidden Costs of Driving

Average U.K. driver faced a total driving cost of £5,795 in 2017

London – Today, INRIX, the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics, announced the findings of the first ever Cost of Driving study, revealing vehicle ownership costs in 30 major cities across the United Kingdom, United States, and Germany. The study found that the hidden costs of driving, such as sitting in traffic and searching for parking, carry a significant economic burden for drivers in the U.K. – with an average cost of £1,924 per driver in 2017.

The average U.K driver faced a total driving cost of £5,795 in 2017, made up of direct (maintenance, fuel, insurance, and parking and toll fees) and indirect (wasted time and carbon, parking fines and overpayments) costs. Interestingly, traffic- and parking-related costs equated to almost half (48%) of the total cost of driving in the U.K.

“The true cost of driving was staggering but what was truly surprising was the size and breakdown of the hidden costs. Parking, for example, made up almost a third of the total cost of motoring,” explains Dr. Graham Cookson, Chief Economist, INRIX “On average, U.K. drivers are spending almost £2,000 a year on parking-related costs.”

INRIX Cost of Driving Index – U.K. City Results
At a local level, London was by far the most expensive city for drivers out of the U.K. cities studied. The total cost of driving in London last year was 1.6 times the national average at £9,353 per driver, mostly due to the cost of parking. Drivers in London not only paid the most frequently for their parking (58% of the time), they also paid the most for it in the U.K – £6.23 for two hours, twice the U.K. average.

Bristol, followed closely by Southampton, had the lowest total cost of driving in the U.K. at £5,111 per driver. This was due to the lowest parking frequency in the U.K. (6 times per week) and relatively cheap parking rates (e.g. £1.59 per hour in Southampton on-street).

Rank City Direct Costs* Indirect Costs** Total Cost
of Driving
Car Ownership Parking Congestion Parking Pain
1 London £3,089 £2,507 £2,239 £1,595 £9,430
2 Birmingham £3,089 £1,119 £820 £978 £6,007
3 Leeds £3,089 £938 £833 £981 £5,842
4 Belfast £3,089 £654 £970 £1,116 £5,829
5 Cardiff £3,089 £617 £1,119 £906 £5,731
6 Edinburgh £3,089 £651 £1,155 £776 £5,671
7 Manchester £3,089 £937 £652 £891 £5,569
8 Glasgow £3,089 £714 £868 £811 £5,483
9 Southampton £3,089 £455 £899 £704 £5,147
10 Bristol £3,089 £694 £389 £939 £5,111


INRIX Cost of Driving Index – Country Results
On a per mile basis, the average U.K. driver spent 35% more on driving than the average U.S. driver and 6% more than Germans. However, U.K. drivers use their cars less than their U.S. and German counterparts (6,865 miles driven annually in the U.K. compared to 13,467 in the U.S. and 8,709 miles in Germany) meaning the U.K. had the lowest total national cost of driving out of the three countries studied.

Country Direct Costs Indirect Costs Total Cost
Car Ownership Parking Congestion Parking Pain of Driving***
U.K. £2,997 £875 £983 £941 £5,795
U.S. £3,079 £747 £1,651 £1,094 £6,571
Germany £3,970 £1,130 £1,155 £981 £7,236


Thankfully, it is possible to alleviate some of these costs via both awareness and technology. Applying big data to create intelligent connected car services is key to solving mobility problems, which in turn will reduce the economic impact of congestion and parking pain. INRIX leverages vehicle connectivity, advanced parking management, dynamic data for city planning and traffic flow optimization to make it safer, cleaner, more convenient and more enjoyable for people to get to where they need to go.


Notes to Editors:
* The direct Cost of Driving includes parking and car ownership charges. INRIX Research calculated car ownership costs by multiplying the average annual mileage travelled from the UK department for Transport National Travel Survey by the UK HMRC stated mileage rates that can be reclaimed when using a vehicle for business purposes – £0.45 in 2017. This figure is updated annually and is designed to reflect the average cost of running a vehicle in the U.K. Car ownership costs also include:

  • Purchasing or leasing a vehicle including finance costs
  • Depreciation in the value of the vehicle
  • Maintenance and servicing including tires
  • Insurance
  • Fuel
  • Parking and toll fees
  • Taxes


** The indirect Cost of Driving includes the cost of congestion and ‘Parking Pain’:

  • Time, fuel and value of carbon emissions generated by sitting in congestion
  • Cost of the London Congestion Charge
  • Time, fuel and value of carbon emissions generated by searching for parking
  • Overpaying for parking (e.g. putting 2 hours in when you need 30 minutes)
  • Parking fines


*** National averages calculated by adjusting the average values for the 10 cities from the study based upon their relative contribution to the national congestion values identified in the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard of 1,360 cities. Numbers may not sum due to rounding.

All data except the car ownership costs came from INRIX data sources. All analysis performed by INRIX Research.

INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics. Leveraging big data and the cloud, INRIX delivers comprehensive services and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward.

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