Submitted by site.zipcar.admin on Tue, 01/12/2016 - 14:37

LONDON, Wednesday 13th January, 2016: Car ownership in the capital costs the average London driver[1] £3,436 per year on top of the cost of purchasing the vehicle, according to new research from Zipcar, the world’s largest car sharing network.

The research – from a new international survey of 1,800 drivers living within ten miles of the centre of four major European cities, and driving cars valued up to £15,000 – tallied up typical car costs such as road tax, maintenance, insurance, petrol and parking, as well as taking into account depreciation over the year.  It shows just how much city drivers are prepared to spend on their cars versus the relatively limited amount of time they spend driving them. In total, the average Londoner spends just 182 hours in their car annually, at a cost of £18.88 per hour. This means that driving in the capital is officially more expensive per hour than:

  • A Friday night stay at the world famous Ritz London in Mayfair – about £15.24 per hour[2]
  • A return flight from London to Sydney – about £14.42 per hour[3]
  • A seat in the Grand Circle to see the upcoming West End musical Aladdin at The Prince Edward Theatre – about £18.60 per hour[4]
  • Driving in all of the other cities included in the research; Paris (£18.55 per hour), Barcelona (£11.64 per hour) and Madrid (£12.13 per hour)

Convenience and flexibility topped the reasons Londoners choose to drive their own car, but at this huge expense, and with the typical car sitting idle for 96%[5] of its lifetime, the capital's drivers might want to consider the alternatives available sooner rather than later.  Zipcar's pay-as-you go approach, for example, means that a typical car club member saves around £3,500 versus owning a car annually[6], and can still access cars by the hour, or by the day, close to where they live and work.

The cost of public transport was also among the top three reasons Londoners gave for choosing to drive their cars, yet none of the city’s vast array of transport options would come close to the costs of owning a car over the course of a year. A daily commuter could already be paying £1,508 for their annual Zone 1-3 London Travel card and yet is prepared to pay more than twice that to also run a car, which often sits idle for a large portion of the day. Progressive cities like London require a broad mix of urban transport options but many of the capital’s residents are opting for expensive car ownership in addition to using the extensive public transport options across London.

Mark Walker, General Manager, Zipcar UK said: “For most Londoners, their daily routine transport needs are satisfied perfectly by public transport, cycling and walking.  Owning a car for the occasional genuine need to drive is a real luxury, due to the heavy fixed costs that hit you – even before you’ve travelled a single mile – like, depreciation, insurance, maintenance/MOT and parking permit.  London is blessed with an excellent transport network and, if more people were to do the sums for themselves and realise how much their car trips cost them on an actual usage by-the-hour basis, they would be shocked.”




About Zipcar
Zipcar, the world’s leading car sharing network, has operations in urban areas and college campuses throughout Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Zipcar offers more than 50 makes and models of self-service vehicles by the hour or day to residents and businesses looking for smart, simple and convenient solutions to their urban and campus transportation needs. Zipcar is a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: CAR), a global leader in vehicle rental services. More information is available at 

For further information



Notes to editors:

  • Research was carried out by Opinion Matters in September 2015 among 2,500 car owner/drivers in London, Barcelona, Paris and Madrid, who drive regularly within these cities. The research results for this press release were based specifically on city drivers that own a car worth up to £15,000 (20,000 Euros in Paris, Barcelona and Madrid) at time of purchase
  • Please find below comparative key findings city by city:







Cost per year for owning car





Cost per hour





Number of hours / days annually that car is used

182 / 7.6

135.2 / 5.6

197.6 / 8.2

218.4 / 9.1

Reasons for using car over public transport

1 Convenience

2 Flexibility

3 Cost

4 Best option in bad weather

5 Public transport is not reliable enough

1 Flexibility

2 Convenience

3 Cost

4 Public transport not reliable enough

5 Best option in bad weather

1 Convenience

2 Flexibility

3 Cost

4 Best option in bad weather

5 Public transport not reliable enough

1 Convenience

2 Flexibility

3 Cost

4 Best option in bad weather

5 Public transport not reliable enough


[1] Research based on a sample of 762 London drivers that own cars up a value of £15,000 when originally purchased

[2] Based on a Superior Queen room at The Ritz London costing £320 for one night – a total room stay of 21 hours – on Friday 29th January 2016:

[3] Based on a return Quantas flight from London to Sydney (20th February – 5th March 2016) costing £750 for a total flight duration of 52 hours

[4] Based on a Grand Circle ticket to see Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre on the 29th June 2016, costing £37.25 and lasting 2 hours:

[6] Page 5 of the Car Club Strategy for London, developed by the Car Club Coalition and co-chaired by Transport for London and London Councils:


United Kingdom (EN)
Car ownership in the capital costs more per hour than an overnight stay at The Ritz, a return flight from London to Sydney, or an evening at the latest West End musical