The poor British motorist is facing the squeeze from all directions in an attempt to keep motoring costs to a minimum. In addition to the usual running costs of tax and insurance for a vehicle, now a fresh enquiry is being launched into the regulation of fuel prices with the aim of the investigation to find if these have been kept deliberately high by suppliers.
Rising cost of motoring
For those using their car on a regular basis for significant journeys (such as a daily commute), the additional costs of filling up are all too clear. When petrol prices crept over the one pound per litre mark ten years ago, there were widespread protests, blockades of refineries and queues of motorists panic-buying at petrol stations. Since then, prices have edged towards one pound fifty for regular unleaded but have only prompted resigned complaints from the motoring public.
Saving money on motoring
However, there are ways to help trim costs of running a vehicle which may help make a significant saving during the current economic climate.
- 1. Keep your tyres inflated properly
It doesn’t take long to check your regular tyre pressure once a week. This will ensure a better driving experience for you, keep you aware of any slow punctures that may have happened, alert you to any wear appearing on the tyre surface and it also saves fuel: running on flatter tyres requires the engine to work harder.
- 2. Keep your engine maintained
Ensure your vehicle is serviced regularly and that any emissions you see coming from the exhaust are investigated. Not only is it bad for the environment to be producing clouds of smoke as you drive, it’s a sure sign that something is leaking or needs replacing in the engine. Running on damaged parts can lead to a serious and costly breakdown.
- 3. Learn to service and repair your car
Not every mechanic’s job can or should be attempted, and you should never undertake a major repair without knowing what you are doing. However minor jobs can easily be done at home, with the right part, without compromising safety or using an expensive garage. For example, see our common problems page for Ford Escorts as a guide to the types of jobs that can be sorted out at home.
- 4. Compare your running costs
No-one like to say ‘goodbye’ to a favourite or faithful car, however there comes a point when a vehicle becomes too costly to maintain or run. Newer cars have lighter bodyweights and more efficient engines, so trading for a newer model or scrapping a fuel-hog might be a painful experience, but make you real savings in the space of a year.
- 5. Avoid short trips
It’s always tempting to hop in the car for a short trip, especially if the weather is bad. Remember though, short trips burn more fuel as it takes the engine time to warm up and run efficiently, costing you more to refill the tank. Think about whether you can walk, take another method of transport or even share a vehicle to reduce your costs.