Counting the cost of your car

To celebrate 25 years of Auto Express we've taken a look at how the cost of motoring has changed since we first hit the shelves in 1988

Counting the cost of your car

To celebrate Auto Express' 25th anniversary, we thought we’d wind back the clock to see how the cost of motoring has changed since our first issue hit the shelves back in 1988.

Our research shows drivers have been hit particularly hard in the wallet over the past five years. The cost of car insurance has reached new heights, with the average policy costing £1,193. Go back just four years and it was almost half this price. And in 1988, we were paying an average of just £150 a year.

Fuel hasn’t fallen below £1.30 per litre for over two years. But a decade ago, we were paying just 76p – so the average 55-litre tank would have cost £42 to fill up; in 2012 it was £75.

It’s not only motorists who’ve been hit; drinkers and smokers have, too. A pack of 20 cigarettes has shot up from £1.48 in 1988 to £7.10 in 2012; a pint of bitter has gone from 88p to £2.80.

But how have car costs fared when compared to inflation? Have drivers really been clobbered hard? Our chart below reveals all.

 Litre of fuelCar insurancePrice of a carAverage wages (gross weekly earnings)
198836.7p£150£12,207£218
199349p£304£16,400£316
199865p£343£19,152£393
200376p£588£19,585£489
2008£1.07£650£22,399£578
2012£1.36£1,193£27,919£609
 Pint of draught beerCigarettesPrice of a houseNewspaperFirst-class stampCinema ticketsPint of milk (pasteurised)
198888p£1.48£49,35525p19p£2.1726p
1993£1.36p£2.24£64,23945p25p£3.4234p
1998£1.69p£3.19£86,83545p26p£3.6934p
2003£1.94£4.24£155,48555p28p£4.4436p
2008£2.39£5.31£211,38880p36p£5.2042p
2012£2.80£7.10£233,000£1.2060p£6.3746p

Most Popular

New Fiat Panda facelift gains Sport model as part of nip-tuck
Fiat Panda

New Fiat Panda facelift gains Sport model as part of nip-tuck

The Fiat Panda has been overhauled for 2020, with a new infotainment display part of the package alongside a new look trim structure
23 Oct 2020
New Suzuki Across 2020 review
Suzuki Across

New Suzuki Across 2020 review

The Suzuki Across is essentially a rebadged Toyota RAV4, but it brings plug-in hybrid power to the Japanese brand for the first time
24 Oct 2020
The end of 70mph motorways? Study shows huge reduction in pollution at 50mph
Speed limit to be cut to 60mph on M1
News

The end of 70mph motorways? Study shows huge reduction in pollution at 50mph

Trial on Welsh roads shows 47 per cent drop in pollution when 50mph limits were introduced; Highways England already has plans to reduce limits to tac…
10 Oct 2020