Electric vehicles have become increasingly popular on UK roads, with charging stations being built in supermarket car parks and schemes available to add a charging port to your home. 

Insurance experts at A-plan Insurance have analysed data from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency showing the number of privately owned cars and what fuel they use across each region of the United Kingdom. The data looked at the last quarters of 2020, 2021 and 2022. 

Since 2011, the UK government has pushed for vehicles powered by electricity, through a hybrid or fully electric engine, to be used by the public due to the positive environmental effects. However, a lack of infrastructure, such as charging stations, and the high price of these vehicles have hampered their use. 

The data shows that private ownership of hybrid electric vehicles has risen by 83% across the United Kingdom, while ownership of fully electric vehicles has risen by 178%. 

Ownership has fallen over the past three years for traditional fuels like petrol and diesel. Diesel cars have had the largest decrease of 3% over this time. 

Region  Fuel Type  Q4 2020  Q4 2021  Q4 2022 
United Kingdom  Petrol  1,757,700  1,751,600  1,753,000 
Diesel  1,118,000  1,101,200  1,076,500 
Hybrid Electric  471,000  646,000  863,000 
Electric  91,129  163,909  253,679 
England  Petrol  1,500,200  1,495,200  1,495,300 
Diesel  907,200  892,400  872,000 
Hybrid Electric  425,000  574,000  760,000 
Electric  79,417  142,827  220,355 
Scotland  Petrol  138,600  136,700  137,800 
Diesel  93,900  91,300  87,900 
Hybrid Electric  26,000  41,000  59,000 
Electric  7,692  13,733  21,338 
Wales  Petrol  82,800  82,500  82,900 
Diesel  64,700  64,600  63,700 
Hybrid Electric  13,000  20,000  29,000 
Electric  2,742  5,264  8,502 
Northern Ireland  Petrol  37,600  36,900  36,800 
Diesel  52,100  52,800  52,700 
Hybrid Electric  6,000  10,000  14,000 
Electric  1,274  2,077  3,463 

The region with the highest increase in hybrid electric vehicles is Northern Ireland, with a 133% increase in ownership. England is the region with the lowest increase in hybrid electric vehicles, having only a 78% increase over the last three years. 

For fully electric vehicles, Wales has the highest increase in private ownership, with 210%. In comparison, Northern Ireland has only a 171% increase making it the region with the lowest increase. 

A Welsh government report from 2020 showed that there were only 302 charging points across the whole of Wales, with the highest number being found in Cardiff. The Welsh government announced grants to help install electric charging points at homes and businesses. 

As of July 2023, the number of charge points in the UK reached 45,737, a 40% increase over 2022. Of these, 32% are in the Greater London area alone. 8.9% are in Scotland, 4.2% are in Wales and only 1% are in Northern Ireland. 

A spokesperson for A-plan commented on the findings: 

“Electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. With the government’s plan to ban new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 and then to ban all new vehicles that do not have zero emissions by 2035, manufacturers have been increasing the options for low and zero-emission cars. 

“Used vehicles have historically been a cheaper option for young drivers; however, car tax changes and increases in fuel prices have made older cars much more expensive to drive and maintain. On average, an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle costs around £10-£15 less than an equivalent petrol journey; however, the upfront cost of an electric vehicle is much higher. Used hybrid and electric vehicles are available but come at a higher price than their petrol counterparts. 

“Infrastructure improvements and financial grants to make hybrid or fully electric vehicles more appealing are essential to meet the zero emissions goals.” 

To learn more, visit www.aplan.co.uk.