Due to government guidelines about working from home and only making essential journeys, the vast majority of the population has been staying indoors, saving both time and money on their usual commute. ‘WFH’ has become the new normal for many over the past two months, with makeshift offices and much more streamlined tea rounds replacing the traditional 9-5.
But it’s the impact on the nation’s purse strings that has seen the most noticeable change, with drivers saving over a quarter of a billion pounds on fuel that they would normally spend on commuting to and from work.
Our data shows how lockdown has changed our daily routine, and what those changes mean for our time and money.
On average, Brits spend 58 minutes a day commuting for work by car, covering 3.4 miles each way. Over the course of a year that adds up to over 200 hours, or around eight and a half days a year.
Fuel doesn’t come cheap. Owners of petrol cars spend around £1,042 a year to fuel their cars, while diesel drivers spend slightly more at £1,265. That equates to an average fuel spend of £1,154 a year, 3.26% of the average UK salary (£35,423).
Lockdown, of course, has changed all that.
Somewhat surprisingly, the data tells us that only £80.50 of that total is spent on fuel for commuting per year - just 35p a working day. But that still adds up to a considerable sum when you do the maths.
As of May 12 2020, we’ve been in lockdown for 51 days. 34 of which were working days, where we’d typically commute.
68% of the UK population drive to work everyday, which equates to 22,487,600 people.
Times that by the fuel cost of a single working day, and you get a grand total of £267,602,440.00 over the 34 days of lockdown.
Travelling during the Coronavirus lockdown has been severely impacted, with UK roads looking eerily quiet since stay at home instructions were issued on March 23 2020.
With most of our cars having been parked up for that time, the petrol pumps have taken a hit.
That saving has severely impacted the cost of fuel at the pumps, with prices for both petrol and diesel plummeting since coronavirus arrived. This has been reflected in the stock market, where oil stocks have been on a steady decline over the past three months.
We’ve also saved a lot of time usually spent battling rush hour traffic.
While working from home won’t be working for everyone, commuters on some of the country’s most congested routes may well be enjoying a break from the daily slog to get into their offices.
Unsurprisingly, it’s London that takes the top spot for the busiest rush hour route, with a journey from Chiswick Roundabout to the A40 costing drivers an average of 56 hours a year as tailback mounts up. Leeds also causes delays, as commuters travelling from Harrogate Road to Victoria Street lose an average of 40 hours a year, while commuters going from the A56 to Northumberland Street in Manchester miss out on 36 hours through congestion.
Being stuck at home might not be ideal, but it may well be better than being stuck in traffic.
Driving on the whole throughout the UK has been drastically reduced, by 62% compared to the start of 2020. This is significantly more than in other countries, with the USA’s driving only down by 30% as Government advice and measures differ throughout the world.
As lockdown guidance begins to change, it will be interesting to see who takes up the offer of driving further afield for exercise and who decides staying at home is still the best option.
Commenting on the research findings, Ryan Fulthorpe, motoring expert from GoCompare said:
"If you're travelling less than you used to, you could be using fuel that's been sitting in the tank a while. Fuel is typically good for around six months or so, but then it can start to leave behind residue which could clog up your engine. You can refresh old fuel by topping it up with some new."
While Coronavirus has been disastrous for society and the economy as a whole, there’s no denying that it’s benefitting the pockets of millions of commuters who’ve been told to stay at home to avoid spreading the disease.
While it might be a slim consolation right now, the money saved by not driving could soon add up. If you’re one of the millions being told to work from home, see how much you’ve saved on your commute by using our fuel price calculator.