Britain Has Newer Cars Than Every European Country, Barring One

The average age of a car in the UK is significantly lower than all of its European neighbours, barring one. That’s according to new figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

The Newest European Cars (Nearly)

If you think your car’s looking a bit old, spare some thought for our European neighbours. Britain’s car fleet is actually the second-youngest in the continent, sitting behind only Luxembourg. Figures from the ACEA show that the average age of a vehicle in the UK is 8 years. The tiny nation of Luxembourg’s fleet, however, has an average age of 6.4 years; which is probably what you’d expect from the world’s fifth richest country. For perspective, the average ages in the Netherlands, Italy and Poland are 11, 12 and 13.9 years respectively.

The reason for Britain’s vehicular youthfulness probably lies with Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) deals; which render new cars accessible to a broader range of consumers. In some instances, monthly payments can actually be cheaper than those paid for mobile phones. Some PCP deals include zero, or negligible, deposit options as well. Much of this follows exceptionally low interest rates, which leave consumers with no reason to save. As a consequence, it often makes more sense to some drivers to opt for a newer vehicle than fork out on the maintenance of an older one. Scrappage schemes have had an impact, too. These offers drivers a part-exchange price and takes older vehicles off of the road; reducing the nation’s average car age.

Something To Be Celebrated? 

In theory, Britain’s average car age should be something to celebrate. It means our roads are being used by less-polluting and safer vehicles; which is good news for everyone. After all, modern cars allegedly possess cleaner technologies and advanced safety features. But the real situation is probably a bit more complicated. First of all, a nation of motorists who regularly swap their vehicles (long before they need to) consumes an extraordinary amount of resources. The carbon footprint of a car, from assembly to forecourt, doesn’t need elaborating on. There’s also no guarantee that a ‘new’ car is a clean one. The consumer group Which? has discovered that many recent models are actually more polluting than their predecessors. Some of this is being driven by SUV-mania and consumer demand for larger vehicles; but even smaller petrol vehicles are, in some cases, becoming more polluting.

There’s no denying that modern vehicles are safer than older ones though. Tougher testing standards and more in-car safety technology has made driving safer than ever before; whether it’s through ABS or lane-keeping assist. Although, it must be said, that road fatalities have remained fairly stable for a number of years.

The Average Age Of Vehicles In European Countries (In Years)

Luxembourg 6.42

Great Britain 8.03

Austria 8.24

Republic of Ireland 8.45

Denmark 8.56

France 9.0

Belgium 9.08

Germany 9.5

Sweden 9.6

Slovenia 10.1

Netherlands 11

Italy 12

Finland 12

Spain 12.4

Croatia 12.6

Portugal 12.9

Poland 13.9

Slovakia 13.9

Latvia 13.9

Hungary 14.2

Czech Republic 14.8

Greece 15.7

Romania 16.3

Lithuania 16.9

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