The costs of learning to drive

How much does driving really cost?

Posted by We Are Marmalade on 22 February 2016

Everyone knows that in this day in age, driving alone is an expensive luxury as well as a necessity to a lot of people. When you first start learning it can be quite an overwhelming experience - what with all the nerves, the hours spent revising for your theory, finding a suitable instructor and being shouted at by your mum or dad because you nearly crashed the family car into a lamp post! But it's all worth it when you pull into the test centre in pure suspense and anticipation, to be told "Congratulations, you've passed!"

It's an amazing feeling, but it doesn't come cheap! So we have put together a list of costs to remember when you want to learn to drive - as well as some money saving tips for the journey.

Getting your provisional licence

It’s easy to forget that before you can learn to drive, you need that provisional licence! If you apply online, it will be £34. If you apply by post, it will cost £43.

Driving lessons

According to the DVSA, the average cost for a driving lesson is £24 per hour. Over at Driving Test Success, they have found that the average learner has an average of 67 hours behind the wheel. This is 45 hours with an Approved Driving Instructor and 22 hours of private practice.

Private practice

If you decide to take our Learner Driver Insurance and get in those extra hours of practice, this can really help you save money on your driving lessons. Here at Marmalade, we offer learner driver insurance from £1.69* per day. If you take out a 90-day learner insurance policy with us – it could cost you around £152. This will give you plenty of time to get those extra hours practice in!

Without additional practice outside of lessons, it could take you quite a bit longer! You could be looking at approximately 50 hours of driving to be confident enough to take your test.

Of course, everyone's different - some drivers will take less, and others more!


Do driving instructors give any discounts?

Many driving instructors offer a discount for booking lessons in blocks of 5, 10 or 20 but again, the amount can vary. Out of 70 instructors that we spoke to, 65% said they would look to knock money off. On average the discount offered is approximately 7% (£1.75 off per lesson!).

Are there any other costs involved?

The main cost you could incur is weekend charges for lessons. Some instructors can charge a supplement for weekends of anywhere between £2-£10. If you live in London, you may also have to pay the congestion charge.

Theory test 

The theory test costs £23. In 2016/17, 48.7% of people passed their theory test on their first attempt. This means that just over half of the people who take their theory test don't pass the first time. Whilst it does not matter how many times it takes you to get it right, it's still a cost to take into consideration. 

Practical driving test

Your driving test will cost you £62 on a weekday and £75 on a weekend. To save money, it makes sense to take your test in the week but sometimes this isn't always possible. You may need to take your test more than once, so it may cost you that money 2 or 3 times over. 

What are the main causes of someone failing their test?

You would be surprised at the reasons for some people failing! We tallied up what our driving instructors said were the most common causes for not passing your test.

Of the people who failed their tests, 50% of them blamed nerves or anxiety, 11% of people failed because of poor observation, another 11% failed as a result of junctions, roundabouts and having to perform manoeuvres and misjudgement made up about 5%. There are many reasons and many things that can easily put you off!

Tips on saving money on the costs of learning to drive

Learning to drive is a big investment when you add it all up, however, it is an essential skill many of us have to gain. Here are our top tips on getting your driving licence in the most cost-effective way.

  • If possible, shop around for the best prices for lessons and book in blocks for additional savings.
  • Look to do your lessons and test on a weekday as it can be cheaper with better availability.
  • Extra practice helps you practise the driving skills you learn from your driving instructor which is where our Learner Driver Insurance comes in handy.
  • Be confident! We are only human and, like any test, you will always feel nervous! The trick is to stay relaxed, observant and don't over think things too much.

If the big day is coming up for you soon, we wish you the best of luck!


After calculating all of these costs, you probably don't want to think about how much it will cost to buy and run your own car! If you are already thinking about this, we've got another handy list of prices that might help you. 

The costs relating to driving lessons are based on a survey response of 70 driving instructors and will vary by instructor.

* Price based on £151.39 for a 90-day policy. This amount is currently achievable by drivers from over 6 million households in the UK. Price and cover dependent on location.