It became notable as one of the songs that revealed the impact of legal downloads on single sales in the UK. The song is Snow Patrol's biggest-selling single to date, ending 2006 as the UK's 14th best-selling single of the year and 2007, on the strength of downloads, as the UK's 34th best-selling single of 2007. The song peaked at number 6 in the UK Singles Chart, and number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
At the 2007 Grammy Awards, "Chasing Cars" was nominated for Best Rock Song, and at the 2007 Brit Awards, the song was nominated for Best British Single. In 2009, the PPL announced "Chasing Cars" was the most widely played song of the decade in the UK. As of 8 January 2012, the song has spent 108 weeks on the official UK Top 75 Singles Chart and 154 on the Top 100 and has sold 816,877 copies in the UK by November 2011. It also sold 3,131,000 copies in the US by November 2011, making it one of the top 10 best-selling songs by a British artist in the digital era.