The open road: average mileage during the pandemic

23 Feb, 2022

Between three lockdowns, stay-at-home rules and intermittent isolation, the average car mileage in the UK during the pandemic has obviously dropped considerably. 

In a survey of 2,000 UK drivers, 55% said they were driving fewer miles than before the first lockdown in March 2019.  

This was great news for the environment during 2020, with CO2 transport emissions falling by 19.6%. However, it did mean many drivers couldn’t make full use of the annual mileage included in their insurance policies.  

Take October 2020, for example. Data showed that UK motorists travelled an average of 198 miles during the entire month. When compared with the average estimated mileage allowed on a standard insurance policy, which is 8,000 miles a year (equating to 667 miles per month), this is far fewer miles than originally estimated and a huge drop from the norm.  

average mileage during the pandemic

What were the main reasons behind our low average annual mileage during 2020?

Of those who said their driving habits changed, 40% said it was down to the impact of social distancing measures and being unable to visit family, while 30% said they simply didn’t like going out as much. Working from home was also one of the main culprits, with around 22% of participants stating their low annual mileage was down to no longer making their daily commute. 

Working from home has certainly had a direct impact on the average car mileage in the UK. A government survey showed that 46.6% of employees worked from home during April 2020 – a sharp jump up from 26.7% in 2019. But will the pandemic have this much of an effect on our average mileage as we move through 2022?

why were we driving less in the pandemic?

It seems likely, as according to the Office of National Statistics, 85% of UK workers would now opt for a ‘hybrid’ working approach moving forward. The Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) also showed that 24% of business leaders now intend to use ‘increased homeworking as a permanent business model’, while another 28% said they’re still undecided. 

Fluctuating fuel prices

price of fuel during and after the pandemic

Drivers also had to contend with fluctuating fuel prices over 2020-2021. According to, in May 2020, the average price of petrol plummeted to 104.87p per litre: an unsurprising drop with fewer drivers on the road. However, these prices didn’t last.

By June 2021, the average pump price rose back to pre-pandemic numbers of above 129p per litre. Since this time, the price of petrol continued to increase, reaching its peak in November 2021 at 147.53p per litre.

Check out our infographic below for an overview of driving habits in the pandemic.

Average car mileage during the pandemic - Tradesure

This blog is part of our 2022 ‘Driving Force’ research on how driving habits have changed since the pandemic. To read the full report, click here.