As any family man will know, the cost of transportation is one of your biggest outgoings. Most of us, if given a choice, would like to cut the costs of transportation and do the whole thing on the cheap. Fortunately, advances in technology and new products are now making that a real possibility. But how?
In this article, we’re going to take a look at how you can take advantage of cheaper modes of transportation and take the yearly costs of running a car down from an eye-watering £3,500 (excluding fuel) per year to something much more respectable.
The average UK motorist pays £667 in insurance every year. In France, the cost is £286 and in Spain £350. The reason the cost is high in the UK is because of the whiplash laws. These laws allow people to claim compensation without having to go through a court process. The cost of this is higher prices for everyone else and generally unaffordable motoring.
The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to put up with high premiums. Price comparison websites now have nice tools which allow them to gather insurance quotes from a range of companies allowing you to choose the cheapest offer. To get the best price, you might have to go with an insurer that you’ve not heard about before. But so long as the FCA regulates them, you shouldn’t experience any issues.
Another way to potentially make motoring cheaper is to install a black box. A black box for cars is similar in concept to one that you’d find in an aircraft; a device which collects information from the car’s sensors about how a person drives. These data are then sent off to the insurer for evaluation, allowing them to assess how well a person’s drives. If you drive well (with emphasis on the word “if”) then you could save 15 per cent on your premiums.
The way you drive is the single biggest determinant of your fuel bill for the year. Revving the engine and screeching around corners wastes energy and can push your fuel expenses up by more than 30 per cent.
So what can you to drive more efficiently and cut your bills?
- Use cruise control on the motorway. Cruise control keeps your car moving at a steady speed on the motorway. It can be a good option if you’re the sort of person who is prone is regular braking and accelerating while on the road.
- Accelerate gradually. Your vehicle uses the most fuel while accelerating. Accelerating faster uses more fuel to get to a given speed because the engine in your car is less able to convert it efficiently into usable energy. In other words, when you accelerate faster, more power gets wasted, and you end up using more fuel.
- Change gears early. If your car has a manual transmission, then changing gear early is critical. Changing gear early keeps the revs down and prevents you from wasting fuel spinning up the engine.
- Keep your distance. The speed of traffic naturally fluctuates as it moves along the highway. If you’re right behind the car in front, you have to slow down when they slow down, taking valuable energy out of your vehicle. If, however, you keep your distance, then you can gently let off the accelerator without having to waste energy while braking.
- Avoid using the brakes where possible. If you can avoid using the brakes, then you can potentially save money. Of course, you always want to be safe. But if you see the lights changing up ahead, take your foot off the accelerator pedal and cruise to a gentle crawl.
Find Budget Tyres
Along with the brake pads, the tyres are the next most likely thing that needs changing on your car. Tyres only last a fixed amount of time before the tread becomes too worn for them to remain legal on the road.
You can pick up used, second hand Michelin tyres for a fraction of the price of new. Often, used tyres come from vehicles that have been written off, pushing down the price of replacement well below buying new tyres outright. Of course, you’ll get less use out of them than new tyres, but because they cost so much less, it’s often worth it.
Choose A Low-Emission Vehicle
Once your vehicle emits more than 100 g/km CO2, car taxes start to rise sharply. You can get around paying high car taxes by choosing a hybrid car which emits less than the minimum 100g/km CO2 threshold.
The government is also looking for ways to support the fledgeling electric vehicle market with parking and tax incentives. Check your local area to find out if there are any incentives.
Use Multi-Car Discounts
Many insurance companies offer multi-car discounts. If you insure one car with them at the full price, they’ll insure another for much less. Be careful though when choosing multicar discounts and look at the terms and conditions. Some insurers will offer a low introductory rate and then try to ramp up prices over the following years. Sometimes prices can rise by more than 40 per cent, year on year, even if you haven’t been involved in an accident.
Get Your Vehicle Checked During The Winter
A winter vehicle check is a series of tests designed to make sure that your car continues to work as intended during the cold winter months. A winter vehicle check makes sure that the battery, bumpers, lights, oil and wiper blades are working as they should, saving you expense further down the road.
Keep Your Vehicle Indoors
When it comes to losing money on cars, depreciation is a killer. The average vehicle will lose more than 40 per cent of its value in the first three years on the road. So if you buy a car for £50,000, three years later it’ll be worth £30,000 and then £20,000 soon after that. That’s a loss of more than £6,500 per year.
Keeping your vehicle indoors, however, can help to reduce depreciation by protecting the bodywork and underside from the weather.