During her sixty year reign the Queen has presided over a motoring revolution.
Since 1952 there has been a fourteen-fold increase in the number of vehicles on the road.
When Her Majesty ascended the throne there was just one car for every twenty people. That figure has soared to more than one car for every two people today.
Over the same period, the cost of buying a car has fallen significantly.
In 1952 the popular Morris Minor would have cost £631 (£14,200 in today’s money). By contrast the cheapest Ford Fiesta – the best-selling car in the UK in 2011 – costs £9,795.
Back in 1952 someone earning the average salary would have needed every penny from twenty months of (untaxed) wages to afford a Morris Minor. In 2012, an average-earner would need less than five months salary to purchase the Ford Fiesta.
Amongst the changes witnessed over the past sixty years:
|Population||50.2 million||62.3 million||24%|
|Cars per head of population||49.8 per 1000||553.8 per 1000||1106%|
|Number of vehicles||2.5 million||34.5 million||1380%|
|Number of households with access to a car or van||14%||75%||536%|
|Traffic (all motor vehicles)||38 billion miles||306 billion miles||805%|
|Road length||185,523 miles||244,977 miles||32%|
|Average mpg of bestselling car||36||51||42%|
|Bestselling car||Morris Minor||Ford Fiesta||–|
|Cost of bestselling car||£631
(£14,200 in today’s money)
|£9,795||-31% (in today’s money)|
|Time taken for average worker to earn money needed to buy new car (before tax).||20 months||4.5 months||-77.5%|
|Cost of a litre of petrol||11 old pence a litre
(104.9p in today’s money)
|140p||33% (in today’s money)|
|Number of people killed on the roads||4,706||1,900 (provisional figures for year ending September 2011)||-60%|
|Fatality rate on the roads per million head of population||93.7||30.5||-68%|
|Fatality rate on the roads per billion vehicle miles travelled||124||6||-95%|
Note: All figures are GB unless otherwise stated.
But despite the profound shift over the past six decades in the way the British travel, the Queen has ensured that when it comes to transport some things never change – at least not in her own household.
Amongst the Queen’s collection of cars, the oldest is a straight-eight Rolls Royce Phantom IV built in 1950. It is still seen on regal duty, appearing at events such as Royal Ascot.
 In 2011 the average gross annual salary in the UK for a full-time employee was £26,200