The nation’s motorists are wasting a total of £1.3 billion a year on car parking fees, based on time they do not use, according to a new survey.
Research carried out by Direct Line also reveals that the average driver overpays by £2.19 on pay and display machines every week.
Not having the correct change for pay and display car parking machines means the average driver overpays by around £113.63 every year. This news comes at a time when the cost of motoring is higher than ever due to high insurance and fuel costs.
A need for change
According to the poll, almost half of motorists overpay to avoid potential fines when they are short of exact change, and buy almost an hour of parking time that they do not use every single week.
Altogether, this amounts to 1.1 billion hours of unused parking time a year among the nation’s drivers, with younger drivers being hit hardest as they overpay by £3.25 a week – £1.06 more than the average.
The results of the study highlighted many regional differences, though the fluctuating cost of parking between regions meant that the figures did not necessarily correlate.
For example, the average motorist based in London wastes just under 52 hours a year through overpaying for parking, while those in Wales waste 54 hours, but the variations between charges in those areas mean Londoners are forking out an extra £211 annually, compared with just £46 in Wales.
Those in the East of England appear to be the most frugal with their money, wasting just 34.5 hours a year on overpaying, and forking out an average of £91 each.
Running the risk
Despite the money being wasted on overpaying, many motorists seem happy to do so to avoid the risk of underpaying, as the research also revealed that 25 per cent of motorists have been hit with a parking fine in the past three years, which has amounted to £450 million in penalty charges across the UK.
Rob Miles, head of motor at Direct Line, noted that overpaying by £2.19 a week may not sound like a huge amount to pay for peace of mind.
“But, when you work out how much drivers as a whole are wasting, it really puts it in perspective. We are calling for more car parks to have payment on departure machines so that motorists only have to pay for the time they have used,” he added.