The true cost of owning a car across the UK revealed

  • Car ownership costs highest in East Anglia, taking up 24% of average monthly salaries
  • Proportionately, Londoners pay the least to own a car

04 September 2018 – Recent data analysis[i] by car finance provider Moneybarn has revealed the true cost of car ownership across different UK regions.

Moneybarn has calculated how much of your salary you can expect to spend on your car depending on where you live, through data analysis of various motoring factors including; purchase price, servicing and repairs, fuel prices, insurance and parking, as well as average gross monthly wages in each region’s largest city.

# UK Region % of monthly earnings £ per month of car ownership
1 East Anglia 24% £437
2 North West 23.5% £482
3 East Midlands 22.5% £438
4 South East 22% £441
5 Northern Ireland 22% £453
6 Wales 22% £446
7 Yorkshire & Humber 22% £468
8 Scotland 21.5% £453
9 West Midlands 21.5% £454
10 South West 21.5% £470
11 North East 21.5% £431
12 London 20.5% £595


People living in East Anglia are feeling the biggest pinch when it comes to the cost of car ownership, spending 24% of their monthly salaries (£437) on their motors. The average monthly salary is £1,800, the lowest of all the UK regions analysed.

Interestingly, while people in East Anglia are paying more to own a car than in any other region, the government spend on road infrastructure[ii] in the region is £274 a year per car. This is much lower than in the North East (£408 per car) and London (£402 per car), which could be one of the factors influencing motoring costs in the area.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom as East Anglia residents enjoy cheaper parking, spending £80.72 on average for a monthly ticket.[iii] This is much cheaper when compared to London where the average monthly parking charge is an eye-watering £238.86. The least expensive region for parking is the North East, costing on average £74.65 a month.

Surprisingly, London tops the charts as the cheapest place to own a car when taking average salaries into account. Londoners spend 20.5% of their monthly earnings on their motors, which means from the average take-home pay of £2,908, they spend £595 on their car. This is proportionately less than any other region.

Other regions where car ownership is less costly include the North East (£431), South West (£470), West Midlands (£454) and Scotland (£453), where residents spend 21.5% of their monthly earnings on their cars.

In 2016, the average cost per litre of unleaded petrol was 128.8 pence, with the North East seeing an average price of 128.0 pence. The area still performs particularly well for the price of fuel and is consistently cheaper than every other region of the UK apart from Yorkshire & Humber.

This is in sharp contrast to the South East which is the priciest place to buy fuel (129.5 pence per litre).

The cost of car ownership may seem high in the UK, but when inflation is considered the cost has actually gone down over the past decade. It is now £23.60 cheaper on average per month to own a car compared with previous years[iv].

UK drivers are also paying less for fuel than many other European countries including Italy, Denmark, Netherlands and Greece.[v]

Sales and Marketing Director of Moneybarn, Simon Bayley, commented

There are some very interesting insights in this research. As expected Londoners have the highest cost for car ownership but it is a little surprising they are the lowest as a percentage of income, conversely East Anglia who spend the second lowest amount equates to the highest percentage of month earnings. It is positive to read that the cost of ownership overall is growing slower than inflation.

Moneybarn has created a helpful infographic looking into the cost of motoring in the UK.