how much does it cost to run a car

How much does it cost to run a car?

Buying a car is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make. With fuel, car insurance, servicing and many other things, it’s evident that running a car isn’t cheap either. Before buying a car, it’s very important that you look at the total cost of motoring the vehicle and really consider whether you can afford it. In this article, we are going to reveal the biggest costs and how you can drive them down.

Car Running Costs

Purchasing price

The purchasing price is the cost of buying a car outright or through a monthly finance such as a loan. Other ways include paying a monthly lease for a car through a Personal Contract Purchase or Personal Contract Hire.


The initial cost of the car is clearly the biggest but then there’s many things which follow behind. Depreciation is the difference between a cars value when you buy it and when you wish to sell it. This is the second most important factor to consider. Most car buyers overlook depreciation because its not a cost that you pay physically. However, depreciation is definitely worth taking it to consideration as some new cars depreciate by as much as 50% over their first three years.


Fuel is the biggest running cost of a car. Depending on how many miles you drive will determine how much money you spend. If your car is electric, although cheaper, you will still have to pay for the electricity you use.


Insuring your car is a legal requirement. There are many types of cover, the least cover you can get is called third party. Third party only covers other vehicles. Alternatively, you can get fully comprehensive which covers all vehicles including your own.

Road (car) Tax

Road tax can be payed monthly or annually by direct debit. Depending on your cars age, purchase price and the amount of CO2 emissions it lets off, will determine the cost of your road tax. A classic car more than 40 years old may cost as much as £2000 in the first year or an electric car may cost nothing at all so it completely varies.


A MOT test is an annual test of vehicle safety and exhaust emissions required in the UK. All cars require their first MOT test three years after they have been registered. Some exceptions have been made for classic cars more than 40 years old.

Alongside all of these major things, there are little things which also add up:

  • Breakdown cover
  • Parking tickets
  • Car cleaning
  • Maintenance – tyre changes etc.


Tips for Reducing Car Running Costs

Get your Car Serviced every year

Getting your car serviced every year means any problems are likely to be caught before they get worse – this makes any fixes needed much cheaper.

Use Price Comparison sites

Before considering buying anything, such as replacement tyres, batteries or breakdown cover, shop around using price comparison sites to find the best deal. Spending a little longer looking could save you a lot of money.

Adjust your Style of Driving

Driving smoothly, with gentle brake and acceleration, will help squeeze as many miles as possible from a tank of fuel. Anticipating the road ahead will help you have more time to react, this will mean you don’t have to harshly brake.

Avoid Fines!

Fines are the consequence for bad driving decisions. Stick to the speed limit, pay and display and don’t use your mobile behind the wheel! Receiving a £100 fine and 3 points on your license isn’t worth it, so drive safe.

Don’t lose your Keys

Losing your keys can be such an inconvenience so try putting them in a safe place at all times. If you do lose your keys, avoid buying a new key from a dealer as this could cost as much as £300. Instead, try getting a replacement key from a key cutter like Timpson.


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