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Regional variation in car running cost affects buying habits

Row of premium cars

Drivers in the West Midlands are paying £177 more to run their cars than any other region in the UK, prompting them to buy smaller, more efficient cars.

The findings come from a study by carwow into the impact that a postcode has on the cost of running a car.

The total cost of fuel, insurance and maintenance adds up to an average of £1,944.31 per year for UK motorists, not including additional costs of parking and tolls. In the West Midlands its £2,121.

Alex Rose, head of trading at carwow, said: “Drivers want a level playing field when it comes to the running expenses of keeping their cars on the road and right now they are not getting it.

“Our research has highlighted the variations in the price of everything, from insurance to fuel to services. Of course, this has an impact on the cars drivers are choosing to buy, depending on where they live.”

In the Midlands, drivers flock to city cars, with the Ford Fiesta the most popular model across the region according to searches on the carwow site.

When looking at the data by city Manchester comes out on top with residents paying more than £344 above the UK average each year.

Four of the top-five most expensive cities to run a car are within a few miles of one another - Dudley, Walsall, Coventry and Birmingham.

By contrast, Edinburgh was identified as the cheapest city to run a car, averaging £210 less per year than the rest of the UK.

With relatively cheaper annual costs in Scotland, SUVs account for more than one in three searches for new cars, with the Nissan Qashqai and VW Tiguan the most popular models.

Fuel is the biggest ongoing spend for drivers and the cost varies sharply across the country. In London, the average price per litre is 117p, in Devon and Cornwall this drops by a penny to 116p, while in Scotland it is 113p. Motorists in the North West are also paying 113p, while in the North East it is 116p, the Midlands 115p and Wales 117p.

Insurance has always been a postcode dependent premium, with drivers in some parts of the North West paying £360.30 more per year than those in Wales. Manchester tops the UK list for insurance premiums at an average of £1,123 per year while Caernarfon is the cheapest averaging just £533 each year.

Most expensive cities to run a car

  1. Manchester
  2. Birmingham
  3. Coventry
  4. Walsall
  5. Dudley

Most expensive regions to run a car

  1. West Midlands - £2121 per year
  2. North West - £2093 per year
  3. London - £2038 per year
  4. East Midlands - £1918 per year
  5. North East - £1897 per year

Cheapest cities to run a car

  1. Edinburgh
  2. St Davids
  3. Aberdeen
  4. Darlington
  5. Cardiff


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