Owning a Car In The UK Is So Expensive

In recent years, owning a car in the UK has become increasingly expensive due to various factors that have impacted the costs associated with purchasing, maintaining, and using a vehicle. It is important to note that while car ownership certainly poses financial challenges, it remains a personal choice that's influenced by individual circumstances, financial status and lifestyle preferences. But in first world countries, it should be viable for everyone who wants to own a vehicle to be able to do so without the fear of not being able to afford it.


New Ford car showroom / dealership in Birmingham UK

Unfortunately this is the case. And many people who would like to drive simply can not own a vehicle because the running costs are just too high. So, other than vehicle repairs and consumable parts, which are not covered in this post, here are some of the other costs associated with owning a car in the UK.


First off, one of the main reasons for the increasing costs of car ownership in the UK is the high rate of taxation imposed on vehicles. The government implements various taxes on cars, including Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and the new car purchase tax, also known as the showroom tax. VED cost is calculated by a car's CO2 emissions, which translates to - the higher the higher emissions - the higher the price. 

The implementation of additional levies such as the diesel surcharge has further escalated the financial burden on motorists. Where does it end. These taxes have been introduced to promote so-called "eco-friendly" vehicles and reduce pollution levels, but they have undoubtedly contributed to the increased expenses of owning a car.

Auto Insurance

Not forgetting that insurance costs have risen significantly over the years, making it more expensive for individuals to own a car in the UK. Insurance premiums take into account various factors, including the driver's age, experience, and the value of the car being insured. With the increasing cost of repairing modern vehicles equipped with advanced technology, insurance companies have had to adjust their premiums accordingly. Additionally, the rise in fraudulent claims and uninsured drivers has further impacted insurance rates, as insurance companies need to cover the escalating costs of these incidents.


The price of fuel has always been a major concern for car owners. In the UK, petrol and diesel costs are influenced by a combination of factors, including the global oil prices, refining costs, and government taxes. Despite fluctuations in oil prices, the government's high taxation on fuel remains constant, which contributes to the steep prices at the pump. As fuel costs continue to rise, car owners face a considerable strain on their budgets, particularly those who heavily rely on their vehicles for commuting or transportation.

Congestion Charges

And now, congestion charges also contribute to the growing expenses of car ownership in certain areas of the UK. Cities like London have added congestion charges to discourage the use of private vehicles in heavily congested areas. This additional cost, aimed at reducing traffic congestion and air pollution, has become a considerable financial burden for individuals who must drive through these zones regularly. And there's even more for some people.

ULEZ and Clean Air Zones

The introduction of Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) has added yet another expense for car owners in London by imposing charges on vehicles that do not meet certain emission standards. Other cities like Birmingham, Bristol, Sheffield and Bradford have "clean air zones" [CAZ for short], which charges drivers a fee if their vehicle does not meet emissions standards. This has been a terrific earner for Councils. 

One example: Birminghams clean air zone has sucked in £79 million alone since it started in 2021. In the whole of the UK, vehicle emissions-based money collection rackets have made well over £400 Million since 2021.


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