Has the UK fuel crisis impacted search behaviours?

Cameron Sykes | 1st October 2021 |

With the fuel crisis causing major disruption to our daily routines, we thought it’d be interesting to investigate how this has affected search behaviour. Using organic traffic estimations and Google keyword data, we’ve analysed search trends around petrol stations as well as the interest in electric vehicles and public transport over the past week.


So what does the data tell us?

Overall, searches around the topics of fuel/filling stations have had a significant uplift, with popularity peaking on 26 September. Since then, we can see interest slowly decreasing to pre-crisis levels.

petrol station crisis graph


petrol crisis google trends

30-day UK data from Google trends.


The following search queries have had the highest increase in interest.

rising petrol search queries


Searches for electric vehicles have increased

It comes at no surprise that over the last year there has been continuous growth in searches for the keyword electric vehicle, which has reached an average monthly search volume of 7,800 in the UK* (up almost 1,000 in monthly searches compared to this time last year). 

*data from Ahrefs 

Over the last 12 months, there have been occasional spikes in searches around the topics of electric cars and vehicles, but these are not reflective of any clear seasonal trends.


electric car trends

12-month UK data from Google trends.


When we isolate the data from the past seven days, we can see a significant rise in searches around the topic of electric car, with top queries showing an increase of up to 110%.

electric car trends 3

30-day UK data from Google trends


rising search queries

In order to dive deeper into the data, we reviewed the organic keyword traffic from three top-performing car-selling sites ranking on the first SERP for the term electric car. Our findings show that the following sites have started ranking for a significant number of new keywords, compared to the previous month:

  • Lexus: 18% increase in new keywords
  • Nissan: 28% increase in new keywords
  • Hyundai: 25% increase in new keywords


Queries for public transport

Our research around the topic of public transport also shows an increase in associated keywords compared to the previous month, as well as an increase from this time last year.

The following train sites were found ranking for:

  • 28,760 new keywords for The Trainline (10% increase from last month)
  • 10,637 new keywords for GWR (15% increase from last month)
  • 14,579 new keywords for Southern Railway (20% increase from last month)

Southern Railway and Great Western Railway have seen an increase in organic traffic compared to the previous week, while The Trainline had a decrease.

train keyword trendstrain keyword trends 2

Estimated organic traffic data from Ahrefs.


Google trend data also shows a significant increase in the following topics:

google trend train data


Our conclusion

It’s clear from the data that the fuel crisis has impacted search trends; the significant increase in queries around filling stations is an accurate reflection of this. However, it’s also clear that people are searching for alternative transportation options as a result of the crisis. The increases in new keywords and organic traffic represent a rise in interest for electric vehicles.

It’ll be interesting to monitor search trends over the next few weeks and months to see if the crisis has a longer-lasting impact on search behaviours around alternative transportation.   

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