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Drive Your Motoring Costs Back Down

Mar 3, 2008
Unless your name is Lewis Hamilton, the likelihood is that cutting down on your motoring bills is a bit of a priority at the moment. According to a recent AA survey the price of motoring is about to hit an all-time high, with the average cost of running a car now at 58p per mile. As this compares with 33p per mile 20 years ago, you can see how dramatic the increase has been.

With oil at $100 a barrel, fuel costs have reached record levels. Insurance premiums are predicted to rise by as much as 15 per cent a year, road tax on high emission vehicles could soon hit 400, and drivers are fined and tolled more than ever before. Without wishing to sound like Jeremy Clarkson, owning a car is getting pretty darned expensive. So apart from pulling your jeans up higher and wishing death to polar bears, what else can be done to keep the cost of driving down? Read our handy guide to car cost cutting to find out.

Ensure you get a good deal

The main rule with insurance is obviously to shop around. There are loads of price comparison sites out there which will let you compare hundreds of quotes in a matter of minutes. Remember that some of the larger insurers such as Churchill and Direct Line are not included however, so it may be worth approaching them individually. You can also lower your premiums by taking a Pass Plus test on top of your normal test, informing your insurer if you reduce your mileage at any point, and by using any off-street parking facilities or immobiliser that you have.

Size does matter

Small cars are cheaper to buy, run and tax, and also have a tendency to hold their value better. Unless you actually are a farmer or 50 Cent, you probably don't need a huge 4x4 for work so look around. Hatchbacks typically cost 500 less than their five-door equivalent, and when you factor in the fuel costs its clear that you'll be laughing all the way to the bank in a smaller motor.

Avoid emissions taxes

London Mayor Ken Livingstone has already announced that the most polluting cars - those in band G - will have to pay a higher 25 congestion charge to enter London. Cars in bands A and B meanwhile will be exempt. In a similar vein, Gordon Brown is expected to increase car tax for band G vehicles to 400 in the next budget in April. Find out what band your car is in now- if it's G it may well be time to trade it in.

Cheap fix

You can offer save money on repairs and servicing by visiting an independent dealer. However, if your car still has warranty left it is important to check with the manufacturer that this is ok. Some dealers may decide that the warranty will become invalid by going to an unofficial garage so be careful. It is also worth taking out an insurance policy that allows you to repair your car where you wish - this may save you hundreds of pounds if you are involved in an accident, and ensure that your premiums do not sky rocket as much as you fear.
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