How much does it cost to run the average car for a year?

With rising inflation rates and the wholesale cost fuel fluctuating on a regular basis the cost of running a car is ever increasing.

According to Sainsbury’s Finance the average cost of running a car is £3,089 a year, which is a 21.1% increase on April 2010.

There are many factors to consider when investigating how much it costs to run your car for a year.  You have to look at the cost of fuel, the individual vehicle type, the amount you drive, any parking costs, servicing and repair costs and many more issues. Here is a quick guide to calculate those costs.

Petrol cars

Depending on the type of car you have, how large the engine is and how much you drive, the amount of petrol that you buy can vary drastically.

Last month petrol prices fell by 1.5p, but have since crept back up again and now the cost of a litre of petrol is 135.61p, while a litre of diesel is 139.62p.

By driving efficiently, such as by avoid turning on the heating system and making sure that the car is not carrying any extra junk in the boot, you can make your petrol go further.

One way of reducing these motoring costs is by finding the cheapest local petrol station to you. This could save you hundreds of pounds a year.

You could also invest in a reward scheme based credit card which means that you could get cash back when filling up. The Santander 123 cash back credit card pays you 3% back on fuel spends of up to £300 per month. The card also allows you to enjoy cash back at 2% in department stores and 1% in supermarkets however the APR is not the lowest on the market at 22.8%.

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Diesel cars

According to the latest statistics from the AA, running a diesel car for the period of 2011/2012 could cost significantly more than running a petrol fuelled car.

The current cost of diesel at the pumps is 140.11p per litre compared to a year ago when it was 114.48p.

Further research from Auto Express has found that some popular diesel cars have to be driven more than 32, 000 miles a year before they become more economical than petrol cars.

Regardless of the type of fuel, the average car owner now spends £1,720.69 a year to fuel their car leading motorists to see almost a 25 % increase every year.

Car insurance

Car insurance is one of the biggest financial drains of running a vehicle. The overall cost of insurance depends on several factors. These include: the street you live on and if you have on road or off road parking. Insurance also differs between ages, for example, younger drivers are at higher risk than experienced drivers and therefore their insurance policies tend to be more expensive.

There has also been a difference in price due to gender. Female drivers are generally regarded as safer than male drivers, in particular young male drivers.
Recent research found that £4,006 was the annual cost of car insurance for a single male driver under the age of 21.

The annual cost of car insurance for single women of the same age was almost half of that at £2,151.

In March this year, the EU ruled that gender based insurance is discriminatory and placed a ban on selling such policies. This ban will come into effect in December 2012.

The average annual price of a comprehensive policy has increased by 2.7% across the UK in the second quarter of this year.

The cost of car insurance will also depend on the vehicle, for example insurance premiums will cost more on a sports car with a large engine than a family hatchback.

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Additional costs

With fuel and car insurance the largest expenditure for most people when it comes to running a car there are some additional costs which drivers will incur every year. Service prices vary from car to car and depending on where you get your car serviced.

MOT tests have risen by 1.6% in the last year while taxes have also increased by 5.1%. Road tax now costs between £130 for a new car up to £12,000 and over £400 for a new car over £32,000.

On top of that if you have a typical service once a year, which could cost up to £100 or more, it will cost you significantly more at an authorised dealership.
It may be worth looking at the car warranty to see what is covered. By making sure your warranty is up to date, it could save you in the long run.

The cost of an accident could also dramatically increase the cost of running a car. Many accidents occur when drivers are not paying attention and a new online mapping tool has been created to allow people to find out about traffic accidents in their area.  Road Safety Analysis has developed a map which shows the number of people killed or seriously injured in each highway authority in Britain. This could help divers avoid accident hot spots and reduce the risk of being involved in an accident.

If you are involved in an accident or your car breaks down it would be wise to ensure that you have the correct breakdown cover suitable for your circumstances.