Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Cost of Motoring

The RAC’s annual cost of motoring index rose by 6.3% last year. This was due to increases in the cost of fuel, insurance and new cars.

Before you burst out crying, it's worth pointing out that this is a somewhat misleading statistical excercise, because it assumes that many variables don't change. Meanwhile, in the real world, they do. People are buying more diesel cars, which are typically more expensive to buy but much less expensive to fuel and fall into a lower VED ('road tax') band. People are driving less due to the recession.

In addition, as a driver there are many things you can do to reduce their costs. The RAC quote the average annual cost of running a car at £5869. No-one has to pay that much. You can:
  • Shop around for a better insurance deal
  • Keep your car for longer.
  • Swap to a car with lower running costs.
  • Drive in a more fuel-efficient manner.
  • Get your servicing done by a cheaper, non-franchised garage.
  • Drive less.
  • Or get a bike
There's not much rail commuters packed into 'sardine can' carriages can do to reduce the cost of their tickets, which are rising by an average 6.2% in the new year.

Bear in mind that the cost of motoring has fallen some 18% over 20 years in real terms. So it's got a way to go before it catches up with the cost increase in pretty much any other mode of transport.

However, there are always stories of real hardship:

Jeremy, a Range Rover driver, has had to opt for the non-supercharged model. His friends at the golf club no longer talk to him.

Clarissa, a 35-year-old mum, no longer drives her children the 800 yards to school because her Mercedes costs too much to fuel. Her children have lost a worrying amount of weight with the extra excercise.

James, a businessman, can no longer afford to drive at 90MPH on the motorway, and has had to slow down to the speed limit.

If you have been touched by any of these stories, or are affected by similar issues, there is a charity that can help. All donations are welcome, no matter how large.

The Royal Society for Distressed Drivers
1, Eaton Square,
London W1

No comments:

Post a Comment