Press release

Pity the fuel: Lockdown gets green Brits driving ahead on sustainability

New research released today by Auto Trader reveals that two thirds (63%) of Brits are embracing their inner eco-warrior and focussing on leading a more sustainable lifestyle, as a result of the pandemic.

As part of this lockdown-inspired eco enthusiasm, one in five Brits (21%) is planning to stop fuelling around with petrol and diesel cars and is instead considering purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) or alternative fuel vehicle (AFV). Auto Trader has also revealed that 60% of its customers[1] who don’t currently own an EV / AFV think they will own one within the next five years.

These more sustainable lifestyle choices go beyond just looking at the car they choose. Lockdown has planted a plant-based seed in the minds of Brits, as a third (30%) of respondents are considering flexitarianism by eating less meat. Furthermore, 29% of the UK are set to become self-styled farmers by ploughing ahead and growing their own produce.

Almost a quarter (24%) feel more grounded after living through Covid restrictions as they are planning to fly less.

The sustainable commitments Brits are strongly considering post lockdown include:

  • Buy an electric vehicle / alternative fuel vehicle (21%)
  • Eat less meat (30%)
  • Fly less (24%)
  • Grow their own produce (29%)
  • Use renewable energy (31%)
  • Go paperless (37%)

Many Brits in the market for an electric car will be counting down the days until forecourts reopen on 5th April (Scotland) and 12th April (England and Wales), as 60% of the 2,000 Brits surveyed say they would not make the leap to purchase their first electric or alternative fuel vehicle without first seeing it in real life.

Most Brits can agree that lockdown has been a struggle and the country is relishing the roadmap back to normality and the freedom this will allow. However, lockdown’s impact isn’t all negative, as Mother Nature is reportedly thriving, with wildlife returning to cities[2] and improvements reported to air quality in some UK towns and cities[3].

Research by the European Energy Agency found that, even with electricity generation, the carbon emissions of an electric car are around 17 – 30% lower than driving a petrol or diesel car.[4] Today’s announcement from Auto Trader supports the idea that we’re keen to continue in this positive trajectory when it comes to making improvements and steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

The UK’s largest digital marketplace for new and used cars is also predicting that the sale of new AFVs could overtake new petrol / diesel cars by as early as 2024, whilst accounting for 18 per cent of the car parc in 2025.

Although new electric cars are generally more expensive to purchase than petrol models – the average EV hatchback is around £11,000 more expensive than the average petrol hatchback – EVs are much cheaper to run. The fuel cost to drive an electric car 100 miles is around £5-8, whereas in a diesel or petrol car it would cost between £14 and £17[5]. What’s more, Auto Trader has seen a five-fold rise in used electric cars, so before long there should be electric / alternative fuel vehicle options for drivers of all budgets.

Consumer behaviour on the Auto Trader website also reflects the rise in popularity of electric cars as Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader explains:In two years, we’ve seen three times the number of consumers view electric vehicle adverts, and one in seven visitors to Auto Trader now look at an electric vehicle.

“The imposed extra time at home has meant potential car buyers have had more time to do their research on electric and debunk myths, particularly around range anxiety. Additionally, not being able to spend on holidays and other big purchases means some have more disposable income, making the price point more palatable despite the government’s recent cuts to electric grants. 

“As we near the end of lockdown we predict that this trend will continue as the environment and overall sustainability remains high on the public agenda. The range of new electric cars on our site has risen by 74% since 2019 and with more car brands releasing electric vehicle models, higher competition among brands is likely to lead to greater accessibility.”

- ENDS –


About Auto Trader

Auto Trader Group plc is the UK and Ireland's largest digital automotive marketplace. Auto Trader sits at the heart of the UK's vehicle buying process and its primary activity is to help vehicle retailers compete effectively on the marketplace in order to sell more vehicles, faster. Auto Trader listed on the London Stock Exchange in March 2015 and is now a member of the FTSE 100 Index.

The marketplace brings together the largest and most engaged consumer audience. Auto Trader has over 90% consumer prompted brand awareness and attracts circa 50 million monthly cross platform visits each month, with over 80% of visits coming through mobile devices.

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Rebecca Nassiri |

[1] AT Nat Rep Tracker – a survey of 950 Auto Trader customers conducted in Aug 2020





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