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Cost of learning to drive explodes by 47% in two years

Rises in the average price of first cars and fuel have hit new drivers hard, according to Office of National Statistics data

Driving licence UK

Learner drivers starting out on their motoring careers now have to cough up an average of £11,137 to get on the road, a massive 47 per cent rise compared to just two years ago.

That’s the claim following analysis of Office of National Statistics (ONS) data by Heritage Car Insurance, which has totted up the total cost of learning to drive and buying and running a car for a year.

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While the average cost of driving lessons - based on Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency data suggesting it takes 45 hours of lessons on average to learn to drive - has remained stable at £1,238, the biggest hikes in cost for learner drivers have come in the price of used cars and fuel. ONS data shows the average price paid for a first car today is £6,600, up from £3,562 just two years ago. Fuel costs have risen by 67 per cent in the same period, according to Heritage, which calculates that new drivers will pay out an average of £983 for petrol in their first year on the road.

While the rising costs of used cars and fuel have hit the majority of drivers similarly hard, price hikes raise the financial bar even higher for learners who must also find the cash for their driving lessons and face costly insurance charges due to their inexperience. The average cost of insurance cover comes in at £1,414, reckons Heritage, which is a relatively small increase compared to the £1,409 paid two years ago. However we’ve reported previously on the soaring insurance premiums facing many other drivers this year, and it seems unlikely that learner premiums will be protected from rises going forward.

Learning to drive costs breakdown

Meanwhile, here’s a breakdown of the costs facing new drivers…

Learning to drive cost

Price

Average price of a first car

£6,600

Average new driver insurance premium

£1,414

Average cost of driving lessons

£1,238

Licence and test fees

£136

Fuel cost for a year

£983

Road tax

£177

Car repairs and servicing

£369 

Spare car parts and accessories

£125 

Breakdown cover

£90 

Cleaning materials

£5 

Total cost of learning to drive and get on the road

£11,137

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Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

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