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How to cut the cost of motoring in 2024

(Adobe Stock)

2023 has been an expensive year for everyone, with the pressure of rising costs being felt everywhere from supermarket aisles to fuel pumps.

In fact, the average cost of running a car in 2023 (not including the purchase price) was over £2,000 – that’s enough to heat and power the typical home for a whole year, or to pay for a nine-night holiday for two overseas.

The experts at Carmoola, the car finance app, have compiled a handy guide to help motorists cut the cost of car ownership at every step, from deciding on the right vehicle, to keeping it running.

Before you buy

  • Research fuel-efficient models or consider electric vehicles for long-term savings. This could save you hundreds of pounds a year in fuel costs, depending how far you travel and your driving style.

  • Look for cars with lower tax bands and insurance costs. This could save £180 a year on tax, and £539 on annual insurance costs

  • See what you can afford before you start shopping for a car, for example with a car finance calculator. This can help you understand what cars are within your reach by showing you how much you’ll pay each month based on different loan amounts.

Once you have the keys

  • Regular maintenance: Stick to your car’s servicing schedule as oil changes, filter replacements, and tyre checks can prevent costly repairs.

  • Drive efficiently: Adopt habits like smooth acceleration, using the highest efficient gear, and turning off the engine when idling. This can save on fuel – and electricity – and reduce wear and tear. It can also help you avoid accidents and speeding fines.

  • Tyre health: Regularly check and maintain tyre pressure. Correctly inflated tyres reduce fuel consumption and improve safety.

  • Unload extra weight: Lighter vehicles consume less fuel, so remove unnecessary items from your car.

  • Fuel and charging price apps: Use apps to find the cheapest fuel and/or away-from-home charging facilities in your area.

  • Charge at the cheapest times: If you have an electric vehicle and your home energy provider offers cheaper electricity at certain times of day (this will typically be overnight, if available), set your car’s charging times to only draw power during those times, when plugged in.

  • Manage your loan: If you pay for your car using credit, you could think about making overpayments to reduce the total amount of interest you will pay. This is a higher cost in the short term, but could save you a lot of money over the course of your loan. You might also be able to refinance your loan to another provider and benefit from more competitive rates due to your solid repayment record. However, with both of these options, some lenders may try to charge fees, so always look at your terms and conditions to see what makes sense for you.

Aidan Rushby, CEO of Carmoola, said: “Household budgets have been squeezed particularly hard this year.

“While there are many things that are out of our control as individuals, there are steps we can take to save pounds and pennies – and sometimes significant amounts – on essentials like running the family car.

“From the way you fund your car purchase, to the type of car you buy, the fuel it’s powered with, and the choices you make about insurance and maintenance, it’s possible to slash hundreds of pounds off the cost of car ownership using our tips.”