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The real cost of running your car – £1.14 a mile?

According to the recent AA Magazine (issue 7), for the average new car in the £30k+ cost bracket the cost per mile of running it is 113.79p! For cars costing £20k to £30k it goes down to 79.35p, and so on down to 36.84p for those costing £10k or less.

Of course, these figures include fixed costs like road tax, insurance, depreciation etc, which will not be affected that much each extra mile that you do. On the other hand, these figures were before the last fuel price increases.

If you have been happy to use your car for work to get the tax free 40p a mile this might come as a bit of a shock, as it did to me.

The magazine offer some good advice on how to cut these costs, including:

  1. Have your car serviced regularly to ensure maximum efficiency
  2. Check tyre pressure regularly
  3. Remove roof racks or boxes when not in use
  4. Don’t start the engine until you are ready to go
  5. Drive smoothly and accelerate gently so you avoid braking unnecessarily
  6. Change gear early, without labouring the engine
  7. Use the air conditioning less (but do put it on once a week to maintain it in good condition)
  8. Slow down- driving at 60 rather than 70 mph can save up 17.2% in fuel
  9. Switch the engine off if you are going to be still for more than 3 minutes
  10. Make sure you aren’t paying for insurance extras that you don’t need and think about having a higher excess
  11. Don’t overestimate you mileage in your insurance policy- the average car does just 8300 mile a year.

Also, when choosing a new car:

  • don’t get one any heavier than you need (weight is more of a factor in fuel consumption than engine size)
  • consider the type of fuel you should have and where it will be used- some cars are exempt from the congestion charge
  • get a manual not automatic
  • Think about depreciation- the average car loses 40% of its value in year one (but Mini Coopers lose only 10%)
  • Think about buying a 1 or 2 year old car, but make sure that much older cars (5 years+) have low mileage otherwise it may be a false economy

Go to the AA website for more information.

Of course, there are numerous ecological arguments to support the need for the above as well. Cars have for some time been seen as a status symbol: the bigger and more expensive the better. I would be interested to get everyone’s views on whether the tables have now turned so that it is better to be seen as green rather to have a traditional status symbol-type car. Please let me know

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