The average car in the UK costs around £162 per month to run*, equal to just under £2,000 per year and this does not include paying for car finance too. There are a lot of simple ways to save money on running car, and this is mostly based on reducing the use of petrol (around £66 per month) and reducing the cost of your car insurance (around £33 per month).
Together, these make up around 50% of your annual running costs and Quick Car Finance has provided a list of tips to save money on running your car below.
Breakdown of car costs
|Item||Average monthly spend|
Routine maintenance and servicing
Unexpected repairs and breakdowns
Vehicle excise duty (road tax)
Parking permits and tickets
Monthly average total (excluding finance)
*Source: Kwik Fit
1. Empty the boot
The boot is a great way to store old junk or things that you do not want to bring into the house. But the weight of things like golf clubs, bags and shoes is adding extra weight to the vehicle and requiring you to use more petrol when you drive.
The same applies for using a roof rack which when empty adds 30kg to your vehicle and is like carrying a child passenger on board.
Using your boot for trips and excursions can be useful, but when you are driving day-to-day, it could be worth emptying it to save big on petrol.
2. Use less air conditioning
Your air conditioning requires around 3% to 10% more fuel to be used when driving your vehicle. On those hot British summer days, your air conditioning will be absolutely essential, but in those cool Spring and Autumn days, it will be a lot more fuel efficient to simply lower your windows and let the cool breeze in. ???????
3. Pump up the tyres
Making sure your tyres are pumped up is a good way to maximise your fuel usage – since when your tyres are a little light, your vehicle has to use more petrol and energy to keep the car going.
Having your tyres checked and pumped up regularly is good practice nonetheless, since you can avoid the risk of future accidents and incurring any costs involved with car repairs.
4. Drive gently in cold weather
During the cold weather and those stormy British winters, your car has to use a lot more fuel and power to warm up, accelerate and brake. So when you are driving in the snow or freezing temperatures, you are best to drive a little slower and gently warm up the car, rather than trying to use lots of petrol to warm up the car very quickly.
5. Seek cheap fuel
Petrol prices will vary at each petrol station and doing some research and scoping out the lowest prices can make a difference over time. Of course, you shouldn’t go out of your way to save £3 on petrol, but maybe you can fill up on route somewhere or work it into your weekly shop.
For an average driver in the UK who drives 42mpg and does 10,000 miles a year, a 10p increase in the price of diesel would cost an extra £100.82 over the course of 12 months – so it is worth investigating further.
In addition, try use loyalty cards with petrol stations such as Tesco which can offer benefits and discounts on other items - or try claim petrol through your work and get tax relief.
6. Get cashback on your fuel
Some credit cards and debit cards offer cashback of up to 5% when you buy fuel, including Tesco and American Express. Based on the statistics from Kwik Fit which suggests the average motorist in the UK spends up to £800 per year on fuel, getting up to 5% cashback could save you around £40 per year.
The savings will be even higher for people that do long haul driving or rack up the mileage due to work or chauffeuring their children around.
7. Negotiate on your car insurance
Your car insurance is always going to be a substantial cost, with the average person spending around £485 per year on insuring their car*. However, you should always negotiate with your car insurer and try find the best deal – since most insurers are happy to have the business and negotiate the terms.
Your starting point would be to use price comparison websites or try join any existing policies that your family have. Adding yourself to a multi car or family fleet policy is usually cheaper because the insurer is happy to get extra customers on board.
You should always negotiate upon renewal. If you have not made a claim in the last year, you should be eligible for a no claims discount and this will be even higher (up to 60%) if you have avoided making a claim for 5 years or longer.
Any other ways that you can demonstrate to your insurer that you are a low risk to insure would be welcomed with a lower premium. This includes adding security features to your vehicle, putting your car in a garage overnight and even agreeing to pay a higher voluntary excess in case you need to make a claim.
8. Add a more experienced driver to your insurance
Adding a more experienced or ‘named driver’ to your vehicle can help reduce the cost, especially if they are aged around 50 to 60 years old. This assumes that they will share in some of the driving and being more experienced should lower the risk of making a claim. This is commonly used for young drivers below the age of 25. However, it is essential that the extra driver does indeed use the vehicle, otherwise this is known as ‘fronting’ and is illegal.
9. Don’t overestimate your mileage on your insurance
The cost of your annual car insurance is largely based around your annual mileage, which is the number of miles you drive per year. The average UK motorist drives around 7,600 miles* according to the RAC and surprisingly a lot of drivers will just guess this figure when they apply for insurance.
However, the rule of thumb is that the more mileage you do, the greater risk you are of having an accident and making a claim. So the higher the expected mileage, the more you pay.
With this in mind, it is worth tracking the mileage your do and if it is lower than expected, you could make quite a saving each year.
10. Get a black box
A telematics box, otherwise known as a black box, is a small device, the size of a smart phone, that is installed into your car. It uses GPS to monitor the quality of your driving including your speed, acceleration, turning, braking, times of driving and of course, your mileage.
This information is fed back to your car insurer to provide a better indication of the quality of your driving – and if the can prove that you are a slower, more careful driver and doing less mileage than expected, you can receive a noticeable discount on your insurance.
Popular for young drivers, black boxes are known to decrease annual car insurance premiums by up to 20% per year.