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As a consumer, the automotive landscape is currently a tricky one to navigate. A shortage of electrical components has resulted in reduced production of new vehicles, in turn putting unprecedented pressure on the used vehicle market. As a result, the price of used cars has gone up significantly – making for an expensive route into driving for new motorists.
But the initial cost of purchasing a car is not the only cost. When looking at cars to buy, it is important to budget for the long term as well as the short term. With this in mind, what are the running costs attributed to keeping a car on the road?
Perhaps the biggest ongoing cost incurred by regularly using a car is that of keeping it fuelled. The vast majority of vehicles that run on UK roads are powered by petrol or diesel, liquid fuels that have only grown more expensive to consumers over time. Indeed, recent instability has led to fuel costs rising dramatically, with impacts on household bills beyond the petrol station pump itself.
Today, an average fuel fill for a 55-litre tank is priced at around £90, depending on the fuel you use. This tank would last you ten weeks, on average – meaning an expense of around £500 per year for the average motorist.
The next necessary expense is car insurance, a legal requirement for every motorist on UK roads. Insurance costs can vary wildly, depending on a number of key factors. Most impactful on the cost of your coverage are your age, driving experience and the car you drive.
More expensive cars are naturally more expensive to insure, but cars that are known to be less reliable or have fewer safety features will also cost more to insure. Likewise, if you as a driver have less experience on the road, you may be more liable to experience an accident – meaning your premiums would be higher than those of an experienced driver.
Servicing and Maintenance
Another important ongoing expense to budget for is that of car maintenance. Over time, your car will develop faults and issues that require servicing and maintenance by a local garage. Each year, you will also need to submit your car for an MOT in order to prove your car is still road-legal, which has its own attributed costs.
You will also need to keep on top of spare parts and fluids for your car. Spare tyres for your car mean you can swap tyres before they reach the legal minimum tread, while spare spark plugs will enable you to keep the engine’s ignition system working well.
Lastly, there is also an annual tax cost attributed to keeping your car on the road. The current UK road tax relates to fuel emissions, with an initial payment calculated based on a given vehicle’s C02 emissions. Subsequent payments are based on the fuel type of the vehicle, with all-electric vehicles exempt from any tax payment owing to their zero-emission status.