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The REAL costs of driving: How much do you spend in a year?

Kids and cars can be an expensive mix. Swimming lessons, visits to the town centre to buy school uniform and socks (to replace those ones the washing machine eats), school drop offs and lifts to friends’ houses… these all have an effect on the annual running costs of your car.

But how much does the cost of driving REALLY amount to every year?

First things first, to keep costs down, make sure you are driving a vehicle that offers excellent mileage per gallon and isn’t going to require much in terms of repairs over the coming year. Start by looking at cars from a reputable dealer, such as Jennings Motor Group Middlesborough, to ensure you set off in the driver’s seat with something reliable.

You can find useful calculators online that let you work out your annual costs to the penny, but let’s begin by simply breaking down the expense of running a car, piece by piece. Legal obligations bump up your monthly and yearly costs depending on how you pay for these and interest for paying monthly can quickly rack up the price.

Let’s take a basic example, of an every day motorist:

  • Female in her mid 20s
  • Drives a small, one-litre, petrol car
  • Her journey to work takes 40 minutes in total, five days a week (Petrol costs per week amount to around £20.00)
  • She drives the car occasionally at the weekends to get to town or a family member’s house
  • She keeps the car maintained, ensuring it is checked in for an MOT once a year (£40.00), as well as a basic service if she feels it is necessary (£70.00)
  • She pays for her car tax every six months (£72.00) and her car insurance on a monthly basis (£44.00) because she simply does not have the money to pay upfront for these
  • She also pays for breakdown cover once a year (£68)

Taking all these expenses into account the yearly cost of driving her car amounts to a whopping £1,810. This is also before considering any emergency repairs that might need doing.

For a busy Mum this cost is going to be a little higher, school runs, lifts to and from extra curricular clubs and friends’ houses and trips out at the weekend have to also be accounted for and will slowly clock up the mileage.

The car idling in school run traffic will also increase petrol costs. It is recommended that if you are sitting in traffic for more than 10 seconds, you should turn your engine off and back on again when it starts to move.

Car insurance is one of the first things you need to consider when buying a car and how much it is going to cost you each year. You have the option to pay the charge in full straight away, or spread it over the next 12 months.

The best thing to do is to put a little money away regularly and save up each year, so when it comes round to that renewal date you can pay for your car insurance up front. This will bring the total cost down by at least £100 and eliminate yet another monthly Direct Debit being taken from your bank account at the start of the month. Same goes for your car tax, it’s cheaper to pay for a full year than every six months.

When it comes to lowering the cost of your road tax try and go for a newer car, a lot of these brand new vehicles have such low CO2 emissions you could end up paying an average of just £30 a year.

The cost of driving is different for every person, so it is hard to pin point the average expense for everyone. We each have to sit down and work out our costs based on how much we drive, where we drive and even what fuel our car uses.

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