Spiking fuel prices and the cost of living crisis spark a sustained demand surge for more economical cars and EVs

Published at: 31st March 2022

DEMAND for EV information remains at record levels after rocketing four weeks ago in response to the latest fuel price hikes, says the online used car supermarket BuyaCar.co.uk and its parent automotive insight publisher Autovia.

BuyaCar has previously reported that news headlines typically provoke short-term spikes of interest in EVs that settle back when the news cycle changes. This time the spike has transformed into a sustained trend, apparently unaffected even by a recent 5p cut in fuel duty.  

Record surges in EV search activity saw interest double at the start of the month as world events caused pump prices to spike and a cost of living crisis made daily headlines. But by the end of the month searches for EVs had tripled compared with the same point last year.

There are also signs that buyers are choosing smaller and more economical vehicles with Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta jumping into the top five most popular sellers on BuyaCar.co.uk. Meanwhile the proportion of searches for used EVs consistently broke record after record as the month wore on and its articles about the cheapest electric cars to buy saw reader traffic double.

Autovia, Britain’s leading publisher of best-selling motoring magazines and a major hub for consumer car-buying insight, also revealed that its DrivingElectric.com website saw its highest ever reader engagement. While the number of visitors surged, the most significant measure is a 42% increase in the time each reader now spends on the site.

Meanwhile the ten most read articles published by Auto Express are now all EV-related – a first for Britain’s biggest selling motoring weekly. And the website’s longstanding most popular feature detailing the best electric cars to buy saw readership double during March.

Autovia’s latest data confirms trends reported across the industry which suggest that the spiralling cost of fuel and general household expenditure is pushing car buyers to investigate the switch to electric faster than at any previous point, says Editor-in-Chief Steve Fowler.

He said: “There was widespread initial scepticism about Britain’s ambition to achieve net zero on the roads by the end of the decade but it seems that previously unforeseen events are creating substantial momentum toward the change.

“Rarely a month goes by without a major new event prompting consumers to investigate switching to electric. Although our window into the mind of the motorist suggests that demand for EVs is often linked to the news cycle and wider economic concerns it is clear that electric cars are increasingly front of mind as the next choice for in-market drivers.”