Number of vans on British roads at all-time high

  • There are nearly 4.5 million vans on British roads – a record high since data started being collected in 1994
  • Number of vans in Great Britain has increased by 37 per cent in the last decade
  • Average age of vans on the road is now 8.9 years – a record high since 1994 and up from 7.7 years old in 2012
  • Just over a quarter of a million vans were in their first year of use in 2022 – down 21 per cent from 2021 and the lowest number since 2013

New analysis by Direct Line business insurance of government1 statistics reveal the number of vans on roads in Great Britain has hit a record high. The data shows the number of vans, officially described as Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs), on British roads hit 4,485,311 at the end of 2022. This is an increase of 79,255 (2 per cent) from the previous year, and 1,204,696 since 2012 - an uptick of 37 per cent.

While the number of new vans being registered has recently begun to pick up, interrogation of government data suggests that the record number of vans is due in part to older vans staying on the road longer than ever before, rather than a proliferation of new LCVs. The average age of LCVs is at an all-time high at 8.9 years, compared to 7.7 in 2012 - a 15.6 per cent increase in 10 years.

In 2022, only 6 per cent of the total vans on the road were in their first year of use. This is the lowest proportion since 2009 when just 5.6 per cent of vans were in their first year. Just 273,319 vans in their first year of use were on the road in 2022 – down 21 per cent from 2021 (344,700) and the lowest number since 2013 (263,091).

According to data from The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)2, new van registrations in 2023 have begun to pick up. New van registrations as of July 2023 were up 20.7 per cent year to date against 2022. 2021 and 2022 experienced a motor manufacturing slump, due to a global shortage of semiconductors, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, which put additional pressure on already stretched supply chains and increased the cost of production due to the spike in energy prices3. With fewer new vans coming into the market, combined with inflationary forces, prices have risen for second-hand vans as well as new vehicles4.

Malkit Sihra, Van Product Manager at Direct Line business insurance commented:

“On the one hand, a record number of vans on the road speaks to a promising amount of commercial activity across the country. On the other, the increase in the average age of vans on Britain’s roads 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.”

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Notes to Editors


Vehicle licensing statistics data tables - GOV.UK (





Direct Line Group

Unni Henry 

PR Manager

Email: [email protected]

About Direct Line business insurance

Launched in 2007 Direct Line business insurance now has over half a million customer policies, providing a flexible range of insurance products for the landlord, van and small business sectors.

Direct Line business insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line business insurance and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line business insurance products or get a quote by calling 0345 301 4827 or visiting