Life

How can I lower my motoring costs in 2024?

There are some small tweaks which can help make things a little more budget-friendly when you’re behind the wheel.

File photo dated 03/06/22 of vehicles on the M25 motorway near Egham, Surrey. Motor insurance customers who buy cover monthly can end up paying hundreds of pounds more than those who pay for policies annually – and the gap appears to be growing in cash terms – according to research from Which? The consumer group used data from comparison website Go.Compare to find the average difference between prices paid by annual and monthly customers between December 2018 and September 2023. Issue date: Wednesday January 24, 2024.
Motor insurance costs File photo dated 03/06/22 of vehicles on the M25 motorway near Egham, Surrey. Motor insurance customers who buy cover monthly can end up paying hundreds of pounds more than those who pay for policies annually – and the gap appears to be growing in cash terms – according to research from Which? The consumer group used data from comparison website Go.Compare to find the average difference between prices paid by annual and monthly customers between December 2018 and September 2023. Issue date: Wednesday January 24, 2024. (Steve Parsons/PA)

Motoring costs continue to rise, with drivers being hit by steady increases in insurance and repairs. Alongside this, recent figures from the RAC show a big difference in the cost of petrol between different retailers, meaning that drivers need to be more savvy than ever in order to get the best price.

But are there some things you can do to make motoring more cost-effective? Here, we’ve picked out a number of key tips and tricks to follow to make sure that driving stays as low-cost as possible.

Shop around for insurance

Cars travel along the M25 near Heathrow airport, London.
Car stock Cars travel along the M25 near Heathrow airport, London. (Steve Parsons/PA)

Insurance costs are a big driver in the expense of driving and owning a car. In fact, recent figures from comparison site Compare The Market show that the average car insurance premium increased by 52 per cent year-on-year in December to rise to £950 per year.

One of the best ways to ensure that you’re getting the best deal is to shop around. Drivers have more tools than ever to do this, with all manner of comparison sites being available to help out. Plus, don’t be tempted to allow your insurance policy to automatically renew – make sure you’re shopping around before it renews to ensure you’re on the best possible policy.

Make sure your car is well-maintained

You can check the oil using a dipstick.
You can check the oil using a dipstick. You can check the oil using a dipstick.

Sometimes, it’s more cost-effective to spend a bit of money early in order to save money down the road. This is particularly the case when it comes to car maintenance as even some routine servicing can help prevent a far nastier – and costlier – event down the line.

Make sure you get routine oil changes and keep the rest of the fluids in your car topped up to ensure it’s all running as it should. If you take your car to a servicing centre, they’ll also be able to keep an eye out for any issues that should be resolved before they get worse.

Check you’re getting the best price for fuel

File photo dated 01/09/21 of an E10 petrol pump at a petrol station. Drivers benefited from a 6p per litre fall in petrol prices last month, new figures show. The average price of the fuel at UK forecourts decreased from 146.7p on December 1 to 140.6p on December 31, the RAC said. It was the second consecutive monthly price cut. This has brought petrol prices down to a level last seen in early February 2022, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sparked a surge in the cost of oil. Issue date: Friday January 5, 2024.
Fuel prices File photo dated 01/09/21 of an E10 petrol pump at a petrol station. Drivers benefited from a 6p per litre fall in petrol prices last month, new figures show. The average price of the fuel at UK forecourts decreased from 146.7p on December 1 to 140.6p on December 31, the RAC said. It was the second consecutive monthly price cut. This has brought petrol prices down to a level last seen in early February 2022, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sparked a surge in the cost of oil. Issue date: Friday January 5, 2024. (Joe Giddens/PA)

As we’ve mentioned earlier, there’s quite a big difference between the cheapest and most expensive fuel here in the UK. In fact, figures from the RAC show that there is a 14p difference between supermarkets’ cheapest and most expensive prices, reflecting a real need for drivers to shop around.

Of course, it’s a false economy to travel too far in order to get the cheapest fuel, but it’s a good idea to make a note of where you’re seeing the lowest prices. Many independent fuel retailers will vastly undercut the supermarkets, too.

Make sure you’re on the right electricity plan if you’re in an electric vehicle

(Audi)
Audi e-tron: Electric vehicle charging (Audi)

Electric vehicles are far more popular than before with more people making the switch to a battery-powered car. These vehicles also offer the chance of some impressive savings, but it all depends on what kind of electricity tariff you’re on.

A number of suppliers offer EV-friendly tariffs that give you lower rates at off-peak periods. Switching to one of these can make charging up your electric vehicle much cheaper and they’re often available during periods when the car would be parked up anyway, such as overnight.

Make sure your car is working as efficiently as possible

Drivers should check their car’s tyres before a long journey. (Hyundai)
Electric car tyres Drivers should check their car’s tyres before a long journey. (Hyundai)

As well as routine servicing, there are some things you can do to your car to help it move as efficiently as possible. For starters, you can make sure that you’re not carrying any extra weight that you might not need; coats, bags and shoes can all add to a car’s overall heft and while the difference isn’t going to be night and day, it’s all going to help make your car that little bit more fuel efficient.

Something that you should also be checking out is your car’s tyre pressures. Under-inflated tyres have a serious impact on efficiency, so make sure that they’re topped up to the correct levels. You can find the right pressures for your car in the vehicle handbook, behind the fuel filler door or on the metal panel inside the driver’s door. Top them up to the appropriate level and you’ll ensure that your car is rolling as smoothly as possible.