Motorists are running their cars for longer as a direct result of the recession, according to new data released by the SMMT.
The SMMT’s annual Motorparc census shows the average car on UK roads is now 7.44 years old, a two month increase on a year ago.
The SMMT also noted the rate of growth of the UK car parc has slowed down with the total number of cars on UK roads increasing by 9% in the last 10 years, compared with a 17% rise in the previous decade.
The total parc increased to 31,362,716 in 2011, a year on year rise of 0.3% or 104,519 units.
“Cash strapped motorists are keeping cars for longer but this could be a false economy as the average new car is 20% more efficient than a typical seven year old car, saving the average motorist around £400 each year,” said the SMMT.
The SMMT calculated that the average car, over its lifetime, will have four owners, and there are currently more than 5.3 million cars over 12 years old on UK roads.
Diesel car registrations overtook petrol for the first time in 2011 taking a 50.6% market share. The growing trend of diesel registrations, coupled with the increasing share of alternatively-fuelled vehicles, resulted in there now being fewer petrol cars on the road than at any time since 1988. While the number of tax-free cars, emitting under 100g/km, doubled since last year to more than 120,000.