Ways To Reduce Your Car's Running Costs
If you live in the UK, it can’t have escaped your notice that living costs have risen - and if you’re a motorist, you’ll know that this has pushed up the price of running your vehicle too.
Keeping your car on the road has never been cheap by any means, but with fuel costs rocketing and insurance premiums creeping up (amongst other expenses), it’s important to know what you can do to reduce your car’s running costs.
Smarten up your driving habits
The price at the pumps is on the mind of every vehicle owner right now, regardless of whether you fill up with petrol or diesel. As of July 2022, price-per-litre remains close to an eye-watering £2!
Your driving style has a huge impact on the rate at which you burn through fuel, so if it’s fuel efficiency you’re after, adjusting the way you drive can lengthen the time between visits to the filling station.
Plan your route
Wrong turns add up! Planning your route in advance, or using a sat nav to help you on your way, can prevent you from travelling unnecessary miles.
Keep your tyres inflated
Tyres that aren’t inflated to their recommended capacity create rolling resistance along the road, meaning that the vehicle has to work harder to get from A to B. This will inevitably see your fuel gauge lower more quickly, so keeping your tyres fully inflated will protect the contents of your purse for longer. Believe it or not, tyres naturally can lose up to 2 PSI every month!
Your recommended PSI should be noted in your vehicle handbook or written somewhere within the cabin.
Clear the clutter
The heavier your car is, the more fuel it will burn on every journey; particularly in stop-start traffic. It can be tempting to use our cars as storage, but keeping it to just the essentials will keep your car as light as possible. If you don’t use it regularly when you’re out on the road, it’s best kept at home; think rubbish, roof racks, sports equipment, prams and shoes!
Picking someone up? Stuck in traffic? If you’re waiting somewhere longer than 3 minutes, cut the engine and save fuel - and also the planet! Stopping with the engine running, also known as idling, can burn around half a gallon of fuel every half an hour, depending on the type of engine. It pumps unnecessary emissions into the air too.
Get into high gear
Low gear = high RPM (that’s Revs Per Minute), and this uses fuel quicker. If you’re driving a manual, getting into high gear as soon as is safe and legal (within the speed limit) lowers the RPM, and is, therefore, more fuel efficient. In general, staying at a constant speed uses less fuel, so use that cruise control when it’s safe and appropriate to do so. That goes for automatics too!
Turn off the AC
You may have heard that the relationship between car air conditioning and your fuel consumption isn’t a positive one for your pocket. The air con calls upon the fuel system in order to function, so it makes sense that overusing that cool in-car breeze will see you become a regular customer at your local filling station.
Steady acceleration and gentle braking
Driving sensibly goes hand in hand with good fuel economy. This means accelerating smoothly from a stop, for example, at traffic lights and roundabouts, and reading the road ahead in order to brake as gently and as safely as you can.
Shop around for fuel
While we’re on the subject of fuel, keeping an eye on the prices at filling stations in your area will ensure that you know where it’s cheapest. There are even handy online tools that can help you with this too!
Keep insurance premiums low
Compare for the best deal
Have you ever seen your insurance renewal quote, entered your details on a competitor's site and got a much cheaper deal? It makes you very glad that you did your research, as the cost saving here can be significant. Shopping around definitely pays off!
Even if you’re happy with your provider but you’re still cost-conscious, you can use these quotes as leverage in negotiating a better deal with them.
You can use one of the different comparison sites that are available online, and they use your details to do the work for you. Keep in mind though, that there are some providers that choose not to use these - it’s worth seeing what they’ll offer you too!
Keep your license point-free
Offenses such as speeding or using a mobile phone whilst driving are not only dangerous, but they can add points to your license if you’re caught. These in turn will push up your insurance premiums; a driver that takes risks is also a risk to the insurer. So, make this one of your motivations for behaving yourself behind the wheel!
Be mindful of insurance groups
Every car falls into one of 50 (yes, 50) insurance categories, which are based on new car value, repair times, the price of parts, safety, performance, security and bumper compatibility; all this combined determines the price of the premium. Cars with a lower spec, small engines and a low initial purchase price are generally cheaper to insure.
Maintain your car
Whilst skipping your service and turning the music up when you hear an unusual noise when you’re out on the road might seem like a short-term cost-saving exercise, but it really won’t pay off in the long run. Regular servicing keeps your car running smoothly, and reduces the risk of damage by occurrences such as engine oil degradation and spark plugs misfiring.
Your car’s annual service is also an opportunity for the essential components of your car to be inspected, such as the braking system, suspension, tyres and clutch. Issues spotted early can prevent costly consequences of complete failure further down the line.
EMG offers service, repairs and MOTs for a range of makes and models - we’re also Approved Used Repairers for Ford, Mitsubishi, Citroën and Hyundai. Find out more about servicing and maintenance at EMG here.
Pay attention to parking charges
We don’t immediately think of parking as a cost associated with running a car, but if you’re serious about crunching the numbers, take into consideration any payments you make to leave your car safe and legal while you’re elsewhere.
Sometimes, parking tickets are unavoidable as the rules are unclear, but quite often we can avoid the fines associated with leaving our cars where we shouldn’t. Ensure you’re not breaking any rules by parking, and you’ll be less at risk of returning to that dreaded slip of paper under your wiper.
Pay monthly or yearly
If you live in a permitted area, or otherwise need permission to park somewhere at home or for work, paying monthly or yearly will usually see you paying less than if you paid weekly or on an as-you-go basis. These small savings add up!
Make the switch to electric
Avoiding filling up completely is one way to save money on fuel! While there is, of course, initial outlay on the purchase of an electric vehicle and the equipment required to charge it at home, it is likely to work out cheaper over the course of your ownership compared to a car running on petrol or diesel. This is due to:
Electric charging options
In a recent report by the BBC, the average cost of filling up a 47-litre hatchback with petrol, on average, came to £85; £88 for diesel. For comparative mileage, electric vehicles still cost less than half of that at £41, in spite of recent energy increases. Through clever use of public charging points, it’s possible for an electric car to beat its petrol and diesel counterparts economically.
Congestion charge exemption
If you drive in and around the capital, an electric vehicle is a sensible investment. Plug-in vehicles are exempt from both the congestion charge and the Ultra Low Emission Zone charge, meaning that they can freely sail around London with nothing to pay.
No vehicle tax
For pure, zero-emission EVs, there is also zero vehicle tax (or road tax, as you may know it as).
Lower maintenance costs
With less under the bonnet of an electric vehicle, there’s less to go wrong, and you’re therefore less likely to rack up huge repair bills for moving parts.
Thinking about buying a new or used car?
If you’re looking to reduce your car’s running costs with an economical new vehicle, you’ll also be in need of a dealership you can trust with this important purchase. EMG has several sites across the East of England, where you can find brand new Kia, Nissan, Mazda and MG vehicles, as well as a vast number of used cars across a range of makes and models. Our experienced team is on hand to help you find the right vehicle for you and your finances.
Spreading the cost of your next car is made easier by car finance, which allows you to break that initial purchase price into manageable chunks. We help find packages that fit your budget; chat to us about your requirements and we’ll do everything we can to help.
Offsetting the value of your current vehicle against the price of your new one is a great way to make it more affordable. You can rely on us to give you a fair valuation for your car, regardless of the condition it’s in.