Driving in the UK is an expensive affair. According to a recent travel survey conducted by the UK Department of Transport, it has been observed that the ever rising cost of driving and maintaining a car over the past two decades is making numerous young people abstain from taking the roads. Car running costs can be broadly divided into four groups i.e. insurance, fuel, servicing and road tax. Currently, the average cost of driving one’s own car is approximately GBP 6000 in the UK, which is alarming and ever rising and beyond the means of numerous motorists, especially the young drivers.
According to the Driver and Vehicle’s Standard Agency (DVSA), the cost of obtaining a driver’s licence is approximately GBP 1000. The cost of taking a driving lesson in the UK would vary depending on the area one lives in. Driving lessons cost approximately GBP 25 per hour, the theory tests about GBP 35 and the driving test can cost upto GBP 75. Although individual driving schools and their respective instructors can have their respective curriculum and prices, simply selecting the driving school which offers the lowest price is always not the best idea to save upon money.
However, the other motoring costs have witnessed a steep rise too. According to UK Cost of Motoring Index formulated by RAC Foundation, the cost of living in the past twenty years has risen by 76% whereas the cost of maintaining a car has hiked by 140%. The insurance costs have risen by a whooping 170% and fuel costs have increased by 145%. Therefore, in 1995, about 43% of youngsters between 17 and 21 held a full driving license which has stooped to 31% in 2015. Similarly, proportions for motorists ranging between 21 to 29 years have fallen too. Increasing housing costs and education loans have claimed a majority of the income of individuals in the UK, which makes maintaining car costs gruesome. The younger generation was affected by the downturn and although employment is on the rise, cost of driving in the UK is still deemed as costly.
Restricting the cost of driving
The sky rocketing cost of driving and maintaining a car in the UK has ushered a lot of attention in the automobile industry. As a result, the UK government, the car manufacturers as well as the experts of the vehicle industry are looking into different ways and means to combat the ever rising costs by introducing fuel efficient cars, safe driving policies and road rules and improved technology.
Here are a few ways in which the cost of driving in the UK can be effectively restricted:
Invest in a small car
The smaller the car, the lesser will be its maintenance cost. Instead of buying performance vehicles, motorists especially the first time car owners and youngsters, should watch out for cars with smaller engines. The other aspects such as fuel efficiency, availability of service stations and spare parts should be considered as this will help in not only maintaining the vehicle, but also determining the cost of the insurance.
Acquire advanced driving qualifications
If the driver has taken advanced driving lessons such as Pass Plus or from Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), this might accrue a comparatively lower car insurance premium and save upon his cost of driving.
Look around for the best insurance cover
Car insurers have different policies of granting insurance to their consumers. While some of them would never cover a 17 years old driver, others would target old and experienced drivers and still others would offer competitive price for the young drivers. Therefore, it is imperative to research on the web to understand which car insurance would cater to your requirements.
Add an old and experienced driver to the insurance policy
Including an experienced driver, especially as the main driver of the vehicle can significantly bring down the cost of driving by decreasing the car insurance.
Secure your vehicle
Fitting your car with tracking device, immobilizer and alarm systems and keeping it in a locked garage overnight can increase your chances of procuring a better rate with the insurance companies who will now deem your vehicle as less prone to theft.
Get a better breakdown cover
Some of the least expensive recovery offers include paying upfront to fix the vehicle or tow it to the nearest service station or home and later claiming it from the provider. You can bring down the cost from GBP 140 to around GBP 40 if you select a smart breakdown policy.
Convert to LPG
Converting to LPG will lower your net cost of driving if you spend a lot of time on the roads. Although the initial investment to convert to LPG in about GBP 2000, you could save about GBP600 if you drive about 16000 miles in a year.
Telematics technology is an excellent way in bringing down car insurance premiums. The black box fitted in your car will measure your speed, acceleration, braking and turnings and the time of the day you generally drive the car and calculate the car insurance premium accordingly. A motorist can save about GBP 300 using the telematics.
Get a bike
Getting a bike has multiple benefits. You could save upon fuel by running errands on your bike and if your workplace happens to be at a near distance, you could consider commuting on the bike. This way you do not need extra exercising time, you also do your bit to save the environment. Additionally, you save upon your cost of driving the car.
Above all, driving safely is the most important and effective way of managing the cost of driving in the UK. Avoiding speeding and other kinds of convictions can prevent you from accruing speeding tickets and points on your insurance. Building up a no claims bonus can go a long way in keeping a check on the cost of driving by the reducing the costs by as much as 75% after five years.
Adopting simple but smart measures can steadily help you to limit the cost of driving in the UK. A little bit of research and planning and practicing carefulness and caution can go a long way in maintaining and managing your own car.