Teenage learner drivers are facing colossal costs of up to £5,000 to get on the road.
Driving lessons alone can now set teenagers or their parents back £1,500, while insurance is almost £2,000 on average.
A new driver’s car itself comes in cheaper than either of those, costing £1,200.
L-pains: Learning to drive has become increasingly expensive, with lessons and insurance both costing more than a car.
Learning to drive used to be a rite of passage for all, but now the sheer cost of insurance premiums, driving lessons and the cars themselves are transforming it into a privilege.
Kirsty Ward, head of Asda Money, said: ‘Parents are anxious about letting their children loose on the roads for the first time, but they’ve also got the huge cost of driving lessons and running a car to contend with.’
Lesson fees vary according to driving school and area, but typically go for around £20 to £30 each.
According to the Driving Standards Agency, the average learner driver needs 47 lessons and 20 hours of private practice before they pass their test.
The latest insurance comparison by TigerWatch shows average insurance prices down 4 per cent in the past year, but younger drivers are not benefiting from reductions.
TigerWatch insurance graphic shows how different drivers are seeing prices change – with older women seeing the best reductions.
Once young drivers have passed a test and begin to drive by themselves parents are then hounded by further stress from the worry of having their child alone on the road. And any prangs in their fledgling driving career are also likely to prove expensive.
Asda Money said of the parents whose children have already passed driving tests, 57% are worried about them driving alone and 14% refuse to allow them to drive unaccompanied at all. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 37% of parents don’t think driving tests adequately prepare their children for the road.
The pain comes as parents struggle with the effects of financial austerity and a weak economy, leaving many households with frozen income in recent years. At the same time, high youth unemployment has made it harder for youngsters to get a job and more essential that they can travel to find work.
However, there are ways to reduce car insurance premiums for young drivers despite soaring insurance costs.
The Pass Plus scheme is aimed at new drivers seeking to set themselves apart from the crowd as more responsible, better qualified drivers, thereby meriting cheaper insurance premiums. The scheme claims it can knock off up to 35 per cent off the cost of insurance and costs about £150 to enrol in.
Installing an insurer’s black box in the car – which records how and where you drive to work out an appropriate premium – is also becoming increasingly popular.
Buying online, paying in one go to avoid interest, or adding a named and more experienced driver to the car insurance policy, can also cut costs.