What is an average British car driver’s annual mileage?

Getting an idea of the typical annual mileage for car drivers in the UK as well as working out how many miles you personally will drive per year can help you figure out maintenance costs, insurance premiums, and even how much you pay per month if you’re buying a car on finance.

When you are considering buying a second hand car, it’s important to know this figure, as you can easily ascertain whether the car has lead a hard life and moved more than average, or an easy one, only doing trips to the shops on a weekend.

Thankfully, we’ve already done the work for you, and we’ve figured out how to calculate how many miles people drive in a year in the UK.

What is the UK average car mileage per year?

It’d be easy to assume, given the high number of cars on the road and traffic jams everywhere, that the average annual mileage in the UK is rising, but it’s actually decreasing.

In 2002, drivers covered an average of 9,200 miles per year, but by 2013, they were driving just 7,900 miles, and by 2019, the average car in the UK drove just 7,400 miles – that’s down over 20%.

According to the government’s National Travel Survey report, there were fewer business trips and private trips with an average of 2,700 miles driven a year per car for commuting. Business and personal driving miles dropped by 900 and 700 miles, respectively, from 2002 to 2019.

The trend for each type of car is also different. There were approximately 9,400 miles in the average annual mileage for diesel cars, versus 6,300 miles for petrol cars. Additionally, company cars travel more miles each year than privately owned cars – 18,400 versus 7,200.

Coronavirus has had a huge (hopefully temporary) impact on everything in the UK but travel has seen some of the wildest fluctuations. The Department of Transport predicts that the annual mileage of UK drivers will drop by as much as 21.3% compared to pre-pandemic thanks the nationwide lockdowns. It would mean that the UK’s annual average mileage would be just 5,920 miles in 2020.

How many miles do new cars travel in their first 3 years?

RAC Foundation research looked at the average annual mileage new cars travel in the three years following registration. According to the analysis, cars cover an average of 10,377 miles in the first three years following registration – that’s roughly 28 miles per day.

There is, however, a lot of variation between car models, makes, and fuel types. For instance, a new diesel car will travel an average of 12,496 miles per year, compared to a petrol car’s 7,490 miles and an electric car’s 9,435 miles.

How to work out your own average annual mileage

Here’s a simple way to help you estimate how much you drive in a year based on your daily or weekly mileage:

  • Calculate how many miles you have covered during the week. Calculating this involves taking note of the car’s mile total at the start of the day, and reducing it by the mileage at the end of the day/week.
  • If you recorded a day’s mileage, you may multiply its value by 365, or 52 if you recorded a week’s worth.
  • It may also be helpful to consult the MOT certificate for your car, since this indicates its annual mileage.
  • Be careful to be accurate when using the data in any applications – If you fail to declare enough miles when applying for car insurance, your policy may be invalidated.

What mileage is good for a used car?

Cars in Great Britain are generally 8.6 years old on average. A petrol car, on average, is 9.3 years old, while the average diesel car is 8 years old.

Using the numbers above we can quickly estimate what sort of mileage is “Average” for the age of a vehicle:

Average Mileage Benchmark for Used Cars
YearAverage Mileage
17900
215800
323700
431600
539500
647400
755300
863200
971100
1079000
1186900
1294800
13102700
14110600
15118500

These are obviously not to be relied on for making any big money purchases but they offer a decent rule of thumb to allow you to benchmark any used car vs the average mileage.