Britain’s cars are older than ever despite increasing EV and hybrid popularity

Britain’s cars are older than ever despite a push to get drivers into modern, fuel-efficient and zero-emissions models.

Data from the DVLA and the Department for Transport – collated by Retro Motor – has found that in 2019 there were 6.086 million cars over 13 years old on the UK’s roads, while 25 years earlier in 1994, the number of cars of a similar age on the roads was just 1.329 million.

In 1994, the percentage of cars over 13 years old sat at 6.3 per cent, yet in 2019 this had risen to 19.1 per cent – or just under one in every five vehicles. This comes despite scrappage schemes and a range of incentives and grants designed to get motorists into newer, cleaner cars.

The average age of all cars on UK roads sat at 8.3 years in 2019, up from 6.7 years in 1994. That said, the number of cars registered in Britain has grown considerably over the same period, rising from 21.1 million to 31.8 million.

However, given that newer, more efficient cars tend to travel further distances than older and more polluting vehicles, the figures don’t necessarily suggest that the vehicles in the UK are less environmentally friendly as a whole.

Richard Aucock, Retro Motor founder, said: “You have to remember that a 13-year old car in 1994 was an early Eighties model with extremely high emissions and no catalytic converters, whereas cars from the mid-2000s were already starting to meet new Euro emissions legislation.

“In addition, there’s been a huge boom in the popularity of modern classics in recent years, which means that models from the Eighties and Nineties in particular have developed into collectors’ items. Throw into the mix the much-improved build quality of cars from this era and it’s easy to see why many of them remain loved and cherished by enthusiasts, rather than just be used as old bangers.”