The average age of used cars in the UK reached record levels in Q4 2021, according to data from Autorola’s online portal.

Ex-fleet cars and dealer part exchanges reached their highest average age this decade, ranging from an average of 17 months for used EVs and 35 months for petrol cars, to 36 months for diesel and 38 months for hybrids. Autorola said the main cause is fleets having to extend replacement cycles while consumers are holding onto their cars for longer due to the shortage of new cars available across dealer networks.

At the same time hybrids and EVs reached 8.4% of Autorola’s total quarterly sales mix, marking the highest recorded figure on the platform and a further sign they are becoming an integral part of the UK used car market. This coincides with launching a new dedicated weekly alternative fuels auction for vendor Arval.

“For the first time we saw three fuel types of used car rise above an average age of 35 months,” said Jon Mitchell, Autorola UK’s group sales director.

“Despite that increase in average age prices continued to rise during Q4 even though December was the quietest sales month for a while. On average used cars sold online for 5.5% more (£948) than Q3 at an average price of £17,937 which is a new record for us,” he added.

EVs rose by the greatest amount (£3,900) from £22,718 in Q3 to £26,618 in Q4 while petrols rose from £14,761 to £15,827 (£1066/7.2%) in the same period. Used diesel prices meanwhile rose by £1,144 (5.7%) as volumes fell to just one in three (33.7%) of Autorola’s total sales which was an all-time low. Only hybrids fell in price by £1,331 to £21,935 on the back of a higher average age and mileage.

“We are going to see reduced new car sales continue to fuel an increased demand for used cars throughout 2022. Some dealers cleared out some older used stock in Q4 as they reached their year-end but while fleets continue to extend replacement cycles the used car supply shortage is not going to fix itself anytime soon,” said Mitchell.