Owning a car is expensive, but it doesn’t need to be…

... Credit : Unsplash.com
Caroline Stronkhorst in Vehicles & Motor

Last updated: 26 January 2020, 03:01 GMT

The elation of passing your driving test can quickly turn in to, “HOW MUCH?!” thanks to the cost of the vehicle, car insurance, maintenance, tax and fuel. We have taken a look at how you can get on the road without breaking the bank. 

Good for the planet, good for the pocket

It pays to consider how you can do your bit to minimise the impact that your car has on our fragile environment. The government encourage drivers to opt for an electric vehicle by giving Vehicle Tax cuts and exemptions. There are a range of different exemptions based on what you use the car for, how much it cost you and whether it is truly electric or a hybrid.

Here are the key things to know:

  • You need to tax your car even if you don't pay anything
  • If the vehicle is used by a disabled person, you can apply for an exemption
  • Got an old car? Vehicles made before January 1st 1979 are exempt
  • Electric cars qualify if the power comes from an external source (and not connected to any other source when driving). Hybrids wouldn’t qualify for this exemption
  • If you have a luxury electric car e.g. a Tesla, that cost over £40,000 and was registered after March 31st 2017, an additional tax does apply

The key takeaway from this is to go old or go electric if you want to save money on your vehicle tax! Find out more about these exemptions here.

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Rent it out

Depending on your work and life patterns, your car may spend extended periods of time sitting dormant. Not only is it costing you money to own (insurance, tax etc) but it is also losing value as it ages without providing you with any benefit. 

A great way to combat that is to rent your vehicle out when you aren’t using it. You don’t need to flyer your local area, there are companies that have made this as easy as possible to do. Apps like HiyaCar can help you earn up to £650 / month by allowing others to use your car when you don’t need it.

Powered by the app, you can choose when to make your car available and their unique keyless security means you don’t have to meet someone with a spare set of keys! Hiyacar also takes care of insurance, vehicle recovery through the AA and more. All you have to worry about is working out when you do and don’t need the car!

Quick tip: don’t pay over the odds to park your car at an airport when travelling. Add your car to a car rental service so it can earn in your absence. Here is where it gets even better: you can book a car hire from locations all across the country and drop them at most airports for just £1.

This is a superb offer from Europcar as part of their need to transfer cars around the country. Find the £1 journeys from Europcar here.

Prices at the pump

When you start looking, you will soon realise how different unleaded and diesel prices can be at different petrol stations. Large supermarkets typically have the better prices and motorway service stations are notoriously expensive as you don’t have much choice!

Don’t chance it, check the best pump prices around you on a site or app like Petrol Prices. Planning ahead will mean you don’t drive out of your way that costs more time and money than you save!

gas station

If you think creatively about car ownership, there are more opportunities than ever to drive prices down and make it that bit more affordable! Beep beep!

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