How much does it really cost to run your car?

motorway trafficDriving is an expensive business at the best of times but with petrol prices sky high at the moment, it's even more pricey. Of course many of us simply don't have a choice - we have to have a car to get around.

But how much is it really costing you to keep it on the road each year, and might finding out be enough to get you on your bike?

Of course your costs will vary according to the type of car you have, how many miles you drive and how risky an insurance company deems you to be. So I'm going to take an average - £12,000 to £16,000 car (that's the purchase price when new) - that's a small family 4 door hatchback like a Ford Fiesta, and a 30 year-old driver doing 10,000 miles a year.
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Essential initial costs
This is the cash you have to spend to legally get your car on the road. So first there's road tax: According to the AA, a car in this price category will cost on average £165 a year to tax. Then insurance: the average cost of a fully comprehensive policy on this type of car is £805 (including an average no claims discount).

An MOT will cost you £54.85. Not legally required, but most people will also have breakdown cover - which is an additional £50 approximately.

Running costs
Assuming a petrol price of £1.33 a litre, and taking the AA's estimation of 14.52p per litre with this type of car, doing 10,000 miles in a year will cost you £1452. Then there are the other costs associated with running your vehicle - tyres and general wear and tear will cost you about £317 a year, and parking, tolls and congestion charging will set you back an additional £180.

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The overall annual cost
So, in total you'll be spending a whopping £3023.85 each year. But can you cut these costs? Making sure you compare your car insurance and breakdown cover each year to get the very best deal should help a bit - you can save £100s doing this. Then there's petrol - have a look at Petrol Prices to find the cheapest place to fill up near you. The way you drive can also help you save petrol; have a look at the AA's eco-driving tips here.

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