Driving in decline: UK motorists cover fewer miles each year

UK drivers doing less mileage in cars

Data released by the Department of Transport shows British motorists are driving their cars hundreds fewer miles per year – dispelling the myth that we are driving more.  

Annual mileage figures from 23 million MOTs have been analysed, showing that, on average, we drove 7,134 miles in 2017. This compares to 7,250 miles in 2016, and 7,334 in 2015. 

Compared to 2007’s 7,712 miles, the average British motorist drove 10 percent less far a decade later.

The official National Travel survey also revealed that, on average, we now take 594 trips in our cars per year, down 184 on the 678 trips per year we averaged in 2002.

Why are Brits driving less?

The cost of running a car is undoubtedly a factor, say some experts. High insurance rates, road tax costs and indeed, the cost of fuel, all are playing their part in making us watch our mileage.

Petrol prices, in particular, have increased over the past few years, though it’s by no means a straightforward upward trend.

The RAC Foundation has collated fuel price data over the past decade. Its analysis shows a peak in 2012, at more than 140p per litre for petrol and diesel. For now, we’re seeing almost daily drops, heading below 110p (for petrol at least).


The London ULEZ is coming

Other factors are at play, too. More people than ever are working from home, using technology to meet and speak with people rather than travelling to meet in person.

Younger generations are showing less willingness to get behind the wheel, too. The number of teenagers that hold a licence has dropped by 40 per cent over the past two decades.

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