The number of vans on British roads has hit a record high following a 37% rise in the last decade. Direct Line business insurance analysed government statistics and found nearly 4.5 million vans were in operation in 2022, up 2% from the previous year and marking an all-time high since data started being collected in 1994.
While the new van market continues to pick up following the Covid pandemic, Direct Line’s study of the government data suggests the record number of vans is due in part to older vehicles staying on the road longer than ever before, rather than a proliferation of new LCVs.
The average age of vans on the road now stands at 8.9 years – a record high since 1994 and up 15.6% from 7.7 years old in 2012.
Only 6% of the total vans on the road, equating to just over a quarter of a million (273,319 units), were in their first year of use in 2022 – that’s down 21% from 2021 (344,700) and the lowest number since 2013 (263,091).
Latest SMMT figures show the recovery in the new van market continues to gather pace, recording the eighth consecutive month of growth following the pandemic and the semi-conductor shortage.
Malkit Sihra, van product manager at Direct Line business insurance, said:
On the one hand, a record number of vans on the road looks to a promising amount of commercial activity across the country. On the other, the increase in the average age of vans points to an ongoing challenge for suppliers and buyers.
With new van registrations only recently picking up after a prolonged slump, supply chain issues have driven van prices up across the board.
Van drivers, and fleets, may be choosing to hold onto their LCVs for longer than initially planned as a result.