Going up: the rising cost of running a car

Going up: the rising cost of running a car

Did you wince the last time you were handed the bill for having your car serviced? Maybe a replacement set of tyres seemed to cost the same as a weekend away for two? Does next year’s insurance premium make you want to visit a price comparison website to search for a better deal?

If any of this sounds familiar, you’re not alone in experiencing financial pain. Britain’s drivers are feeling the pinch. The rising cost of motoring seems to do one thing: accelerate like a sports car.

Over the past decade, there has been a steady drag on drivers’ wallets. Find out how much more expensive the cost of motoring has become.

Increase in the cost in motoring over the past 10 years

If it feels as though driving has become an expensive business, you’re not imagining it. Since 2007, the RAC Foundation Index has been keeping a check on the cost of motoring. Its research shows it has steadily become more expensive to run a car.

The motoring organisation’s data shows that the price of tax and insurance has shot up by an eye-watering 178 per cent in a decade. It’s the biggest rise to hit drivers in the pocket. Recent surveys suggest drivers now pay on average £436 a year for their insurance

Changes to compensation regulations and a rise in insurance premium tax have added roughly £60 a year to bills.

In the same time, the price of petrol and oil has climbed by an average of 20 per cent. After enjoying a couple of years of low petrol and diesel costs, prices at the pumps are heading up. James Brown, of consultancy firm Simon-Kucher, revealed: “Driving to work cost 5 per cent more in August and early September than last year. And when it comes to paying to maintain a car, having it serviced at a garage, people are paying nearly 38 per cent more than they were 10 years ago.

The average increase for all motoring costs

Going up: the rising cost of running a car

The RAC Foundation Index also calculated the combined average across all motoring costs. The news isn’t entirely good. On average, people are paying almost 30 per cent more to run their car than they would have been a decade ago.

That’s not quite as shocking as the spike in insurance and tax. But it has been helped by the fact that the cost of buying a car has actually dropped, by more than 10 per cent.

Are wages keeping up with inflation and motoring costs?

The concerning news is that the amount of money people are taking home from their wages is failing to keep up with the big increases in the cost of driving.

Wages have only grown by 20 per cent over the past decade. That means drivers face a 10 per cent shortfall between pay and the cost of running their car.

How can drivers cut the cost of running a car?

The number one habit every driver needs to develop is shopping around. When the annual insurance premium lands on you doorstep or appears in your inbox, take to several price comparison websites and compare like-for-like policies across providers.

A little known tip comes from GoCompare.com. It reveals that the job title given by drivers can have a big impact on the cost of cover. For example, it found that describing a profession as ‘kitchen staff’ rather than ‘chef’ saved £98

Fuel bills too are easy to reduce. However, using PetrolPrices.com to locate your nearest, cheapest outlet could give savings of around 5 pence per litre.

And when it comes to having a car serviced, motorists should use BookMyGarage.com to find local garages, see customer reviews and then request quotes. It allows drivers to research from the comfort of their armchair, comparing costs and reviews of workmanship.

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James Mills

James is a motoring journalist and former magazine editor at BBC Top Gear and Auto Express. He has scooped, reported on and reviewed most new cars of the past 20 years, and currently contributes to the Driving section of The Sunday Times.

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