The cost of driving in 2011

Those of us who love driving, and even those who don’t but use their cars simply out of necessity, are really feeling the pain at the moment in the UK.  We seem to be paying more for almost every aspect of driving and there’s little that we can do about it.

Average cost of fuel per year = £2,500. When the author started driving in 2000, unleaded petrol cost 75.6p per litre in southern England.  Now it is getting on for double that.  The last time I filled up it was 136.9p, up 13 pence per litre on April last year.  The rise in petrol prices seems to be on a fairly steady upwards trajectory, with no sign of slowing any time soon.

Average cost of insurance = £892 (fully comp). Despite being relatively stable for some years, the cost of car insurance has suddenly shot up.  Whilst this has been blamed on the no win no fee culture by some, the situation is really far more complex than car accident claims.  For example, the rise in female drivers’ premiums is mostly down to the new European legislation that states there can be no sex discrimination when it comes to assessing risk and pricing premiums.

Average road tax = £180 (estimated). Road tax is calculated based on the amount of CO2 a car produces and unrelated to the amount of miles driven.  Those cars that emit the least pay nothing for their road tax but few cars fall into this category.  Although there appears to be no well published research into what the average car owner pays, it looks to be about £180.

MOT = £54.85. Assuming a vehicle is over 3 years old and kept in good condition, the cost of having an MOT done on an average passenger car is set at £54.85.  Some garages do run special offers on this though so it is possible to pay less.

Average servicing = £180. The cost of servicing once a year varies wildly around the UK and depends on whether an independent or official manufacturer garage is used, as well as the type of service conducted.   This cost does not include any work done.

There are no doubt other factors to take into account – repairs, oil, new tyres, windscreen wash, parking, not to mention depreciation – but as far as keeping a car running and legal, the cost of driving in 2011 looks to total £3,800 per year.


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