The cost of parking your car in a designated space has just got a whole lot more expensive.

Research from insurer Confused.com has revealed the cost of parking in public car parks has jumped by a hefty 12.5 per cent in the last 12 months. The leap means cash-strapped Brits are now forking out £8bn a year just to park!

Unsurprisingly, the most expensive spots in the country are in the capital, with NCP Pavilion Road, Knightsbridge, topping the list, charging £36 for three hours, £18 for two hours and a tenner for 60 minutes. Eight of the car parks in the top 10 are operated by NCP.

Confused.com also found that three-in-five motorists list the price of parking as a key consideration when deciding where to shop, and that one-in-five Brits feels car parks aren't up to scratch.

"In today's difficult financial climate, people have had to find ways to save every penny possible. Over-priced parking charges are a problem that every motorist in the country has to deal with," said a spokesman for the insurance firm.

Andrew Howard, from the AA, told Autoblog: "On the one hand it is hard to see how we can avoid having to pay to park. There are never going to be enough spaces and price is always the best way to ration space. That price may also have to reflect land prices – no one would lose money on running a car park when they could make more by building there.

"But on the other hand there are real signs that in this time of austerity, local authorities are looking to make more and more money from parking. In places it has gone past mere rationing and the charges and the fines owe more to revenue raising.

"That shouldn't be happening and residents and businesses in towns should be pressing to make sure rates remain reasonable. High fees can mean no visitors and no shoppers and that can soon mean no businesses."

Do you think drivers pay too much to park? Let us know by posting your comments below.