When it comes to your the cost of running your car, there are a number of factors you need to include, but budgeting for your wheels isn't always easy. For starters, the price of fuel can fluctuate wildly at the petrol pump. While the supermarkets often undercut other retailers on the forecourt, if your nearest petrol station doesn't have much competition, you can find yourself paying over the odds for your fuel.
How to control your petrol costs
Add in the cost of insurance, parking, maintenance and replacement parts, and it's no wonder that running costs can become a burden for many car owners.
Costs are on the up
Car insurance premiums rose to a new high in 2017. Figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) showed that from October-December 2017 the average premium hit £481 - a 9% increase on the previous year. It also means premiums have risen for eight consecutive quarters.
Insurance premium tax (IPT) has increased and the discount (or Ogden) rate has also changed. Fraudulent personal injury claims have also been cited as another factor behind the rising cost of car cover.
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Find ways to drive costs down
With the cost of car ownership on the up, it’s important to find ways to save money. One of the simplest ways to do this is by signing up to a car-share scheme.
What is a car-share scheme?
Ridesharing is about finding others travelling the same way as you, and spreading the cost.
As a driver, you can cut journey costs by offering passengers lifts in return for a payment towards fuel costs.
As a passenger, you can take advantage of those empty seats and cut both your travelling costs, and your carbon footprint.
Eight simple steps to driving more economically
Check with your insurer
Because drivers do not make a profit on car-sharing arrangements – as the passenger is only contributing towards petrol – it should not impact on your motor cover.
That said, it's always worth checking with your insurer first.
Find a ridesharing organisation
Firms operating in this arena include BlaBlaCar, Gocarshare and Liftshare.
• With BlaBlaCar (available as an app: BlaBlaCar for iPhone, BlaBlaCar for Android) drivers and passengers can key in the details of where they are going, and get linked with like-minded others doing the same.
Drivers can then charge a fee, and put this money towards petrol and the running cost of their car.
Current prices on the site include London to Manchester for £14, and Edinburgh to Newcastle for £8.
• Similarly, with Gocarshare, you can hitch a cheap ride with some strangers, or give someone else a lift.
The website operates a simple message board on which you can either post a request for a lift, or give brief details of the journey you are planning, and the price you are charging for a seat.
• Liftshare (available as an app: Liftshare for iPhone, Liftshare for Android) is another car-pooling option which lets users post details of journeys, and search for others going the same way.
Give car-sharing a go
One of the upsides of ridesharing is putting an end to the boredom of a long journey as you have someone to talk to.
Equally, if you – or the person you are sharing with – prefers to grunt or say nothing, car-sharing should still offer a far more comfortable option than taking the long-distance bus.
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