Fuel economy falls down wish list

Despite rising costs at the pumps, fuel economy is slipping down the list of priorities for used car buyers.

According to analysts at BuyaCar, searches by MPG were almost 40% lower in January 2022 than they were in 2021. It notes that this is in line with research by parent company Autovia, which closely tracks the behaviour and opinions of car owners and has found that model styling and brand image are the biggest motivating factors when buying a car.

Meanwhile, its latest online used car market update also found that the average price of cars bought on the site in January rose again, reaching £17,600, while online searches by women rose accounted for 48% of all searches, its highest level ever.

The data also revealed that searches for diesel cars hit a new low of 23%, while searches for electric vehicles was just five per cent behind those for petrol hybrids, at just over 13% of all searches.

Christofer Lloyd, editor, said: “Despite the turmoil seen throughout the wider market over the past 12 months, the trends on BuyaCar are remarkably consistent. They also seem to reflect widening differences between customers who take the traditional route of visiting dealers and those who prefer the convenience of researching and ordering entirely online and having their car delivered to their home.

“Perhaps the biggest example of this is the emergence of women as the driving force at the younger end of the market for BuyaCar. But in general it’s interesting to see that the priorities of a growing proportion of our customers do not include fuel economy, at least during their initial searches.”