Thirty two million cars on UK roads11 Apr 2019

Total number of vehicles nears 40 million

At the end of 2018 there were 32.49 million cars on the UK’s roads.

This compares with 32.16 million at the end of 2017.

The latest official figures also show that the total for all vehicles at the end of 2018 was 39.36 million (compared with 38.89 million) including:

  • 4.13 million vans
  • 525,000 HGVs
  • 160,000 buses and coaches
  • 793,000 others (such as diggers, rollers, ambulances and agricultural vehicles)

Of the 39.36 million, 200,000 were classified at ultra-low emission. This included 186,000 cars.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“These figures show there remains a gaping hole between the ambition to green the vehicle fleet and the reality on the road.

“The relatively-slow take up of electric cars shows how important government incentives remain and any changes – such as cuts in the level of the plug-in grant and restrictions on eligibility seen in October last year – have to be finely tuned.

“The data also underlines the continued dominance of diesel. Whilst there are more petrol cars than diesel, diesel fuel sells at almost twice the volume because of its use in almost all commercial vehicles including HGVs and the fast-rising number of vans.”



Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

[email protected] | 020 7747 3445 | 07711 776448 | 020 7389 0601 (ISDN)

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.

The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist. All the Foundation’s work is available at: