For the first time since 1945 there are fewer cars on Britain’s roads than 12 months previously. Britain’s car population fell by an unspectacular but trend-bucking 0.7% from 2008 to 2009.

What has become of the 200,000 odd missing motors? In a word: scrappage (assuming scrappage is a word). In 10 words: scrappage and the stricter enforcement of laws against unroadworthy vehicles. Plus, of course, there’s less demand for private motor transport in these straitened times.

The motor vehicle is not quite extinct yet, though. We still have 31 million of them knocking about in the UK. But with fuel prices at record levels and emissions-linked road tax increases in the pipeline, people are thinking longer and harder about their car ownership needs, and the figures look set to fall again next year.

If it carries on like this, there’ll be nothing left for car insurers to insure by the year 2153.


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