Fuel economy now more important to car buyers than reliability

·2-min read

A vehicle’s fuel consumption is now the most important consideration for UK car buyers, according to a new survey.

Fuel prices have risen dramatically in recent months, and though chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p cut to fuel duty in the Spring Budget, the average price of a litre currently stands at 161.84p for petrol and 176.33p for diesel, according to government figures. Those are both sharp increases on the 144.82p for petrol and 148.85p for diesel recorded at the start of 2022.

As a result, fuel economy is now ranked as the top consideration for new car buyers, with 57 per cent listing it as a factor when purchasing a new model, according to a survey of 2,000 motorists (excluding EV drivers) by used car marketplace CarGurus.


Reliability – which was previously the top consideration prior to rising fuel prices – was in second position, with 55 per cent making this a factor in the purchase of their next car.

Road tax (25 per cent) was ranked third, safety/Euro NCAP rating (21 per cent) was placed fourth and a car’s design and style (20 per cent) was the fifth most important factor, dropping from third position last year, suggesting car buyers are increasingly purchasing with their heads rather than hearts.

When asked why motorists might consider a more fuel-efficient car, 43 per cent cited rising fuel prices, with 31 per cent saying it would be because of climate change.

47 per cent of motorists are now avoiding unnecessary journeys, as a result of rising fuel prices

Elsewhere, 23 per cent said they wouldn’t have bought their current car, and would have chosen something cheaper to run instead, while eight per cent would have purchased an EV or no car at all.

CarGurus’ survey also found 47 per cent said they are now avoiding unnecessary car journeys because of rising prices, with the average motorist now doing 17.8 fewer miles per week than they were before fuel prices increased.

CarGurus’ fuel-saving tips include removing unnecessary weight from the car, taking a roof or bike rack off the car when it’s not in use and smoother driving.

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