If the latest figures are to be believed, it's looking like White Van Man's got some serious competition on the streets these days. The most recent surveys on Britain's favourite car colour are out, and it's all there in black and white. Mostly black.

In The Black

For the first time since 2012, the number of black vehicles registered in Britain has eclipsed the previous most popular choice, white. Over 500,000 of them hit the streets in 2017, making black the UK's colour of choice on our roadways and driveways. In fact, we haven't seen a primary colour in a serious contender's position since 2010.

Even if you combine the figures for red and yellow, then lump in green for good measure, you're sill only looking at just over 2% of the vehicles on our streets. Shades of pink and mauve (whatever mauve really is) are fading fast as well. By contrast, black, white and grey account for a full 60% of the country's registrations between them. Another 10% are listed as silver.

So, what's going on here? Believe it or not, there are people in the industry who are being paid to puzzle out exactly that. Apparently, it's got a lot to do with the so-called “mood of the nation”. Black vehicles, for instance, hit the big time in 2009 while we were all reeling from the financial crash. Before then, back in the prosperous early 2000s, we were all apparently swanning around in silver cars. It sounds strange, but the times we live in really do seem to influence the cars we drive.

How Many Shades of Grey?

Take grey, for instance. Grey vehicles have been rising in popularity for a while now. Strange as it sounds, many experts are telling us that this has to do with the political climate. Insecurity over Brexit and other issues, so we're told, can actually lead to non-committal colour choices. Apparently, they just feel “safe” when the road ahead doesn't. Grey is currently the most popular colour in the East Midlands for cars, for example.

Of course, it's possible there are other forces at work here as well. After all, we're constantly being told that car sales are dropping overall (with “millennials” shouldering most of the blame). In 2017, for example, sales of cars to private customers dropped by about 7% after growing steadily for years. The Great British family's favourite car might still be the good old blue Ford Fiesta, of course (although RIFT customers do love their Vauxhalls). However, businesses tend to prefer black for their vehicle fleets, and those numbers are starting to show more strongly on the playing field as private sales drop.

Going Green

Of course, with the upcoming ban on fossil fuel vehicles by 2040, it won't be long before all our cars are green by law. On the inside, at least. The latest tax increases are seeing sales of diesel cars slump heavily in what some are calling a “cliff-edge” for the industry. Meanwhile, last year's revised VED thresholds mean that low emissions no longer mean no tax. Only zero-polluters like all-electric models are exempt.

Getting A Tax Refund For Your Travel

What it all means in real terms is that people travelling for work are going to have bigger decisions to make than the colour of their cars. For some, it'll be a balancing act between the increased vehicle tax they're paying and the refunds their travel earns them. Others may be looking at alternatives to using their own vehicles.

We always talk about making your travel pay at RIFT, but there's more to it than counting the miles you're putting behind you. Upkeep, repairs and even branding of your work car or van can all help bring down the tax you owe. With that in mind, remember to keep your MyRIFT account up-to-date whenever you buy, upgrade or even redecorate your work vehicle. Those expenses are easy to miss when you're dealing with tricky HMRC matters, and they mount up over time.

Whatever colour car or van you drive for work, talk to RIFT about how we can help you claim your tax rebate from HMRC.