New research has revealed the most expensive cities to own a car in the UK, and the occupant of the number one spot might come as a surprise.

Kwik Fit‘s study – which was based on the most common items of motoring expenditure in 20 locations across the country – found that the priciest place of all for drivers is not London, but Birmingham.

Costliest cities

Birmingham’s position at the top of the list of expensive driving destinations was largely down to the fact that the most expensive resident’s parking permit in the city costs £785 a year.

When this was added to the various other expenses drivers typically have to pay – such as fuel costs, insurance and parking away from home – the findings indicated that Birmingham was pricier than both Manchester (second place) and London (third).

Belfast and Preston completed the top five. In both of these cities, low parking permit costs offset the relatively high average annual fuel bills.

Here’s the top ten in full, based on the total amount the typical driver spends on various motoring costs:

  1. Birmingham (£3,327)
  2. Manchester (£2,994)
  3. London (£2,921)
  4. Belfast (£2,737)
  5. Preston (£2,472)
  6. Leeds (£2,375)
  7. Liverpool (£2,309)
  8. Nottingham (£2,283)
  9. Sheffield (£2,267)
  10. Glasgow (£2,191)

The insurance impact

The research noted that insurance is one of the biggest areas of expenditure drivers need to consider, with savings made in certain areas often offset by high cover costs.

Average premiums show that car insurance prices vary significantly, with a 156 per cent difference between the cheapest and most expensive locations.

Exeter was found to be the cheapest city to insure a car (£559.47 per year), while London is the most expensive (£1,433.88).

Edinburgh has the fifth-highest residents’ permit cost in the UK (£254), but the city’s average insurance cost (£600.33) is the fifth-lowest in the UK, which played a big part in it being ranked the fifth-cheapest destination overall.

In Liverpool, drivers are unlikely to find themselves paying for residents’ parking, but the city’s steep insurance costs – the second-highest in the country after London – propelled it into seventh place in the overall ranking.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “This research reveals that the costs all motorists have to bear can vary considerably even between neighbouring cities.”

Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, comments: “While it’s not a shock that motoring costs vary between cities, it’s quite surprising to see just how much more London drivers have to pay for insurance than people who live in Exeter, for example.

“This sheds a light on how much car owners could have to gain from taking positive action to lower their insurance costs.”

Steps you can take to get your car insurance premiums down include:

  • Paying in an annual lump sum, rather than monthly
  • Adding extra security measures to your vehicle, such as alarms, immobilisers and locking wheel nuts
  • Increasing your voluntary excess
  • Building up your no-claims discount

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