Owning a Car – What are the Actual Running Costs?

Owning a Car: The UK is experiencing a period of economic uncertainty, as a perfect storm of external and internal factors lead to rampant inflation. As a result, standard household costs are on the up, and expenditures previously seen as the norm are fast becoming luxury. 

Owning a car has become one such expenditure, and one which many younger new drivers cannot quite justify doing. But what are the running costs associated with owning a car, and why is it further from the norm as it once was? 

Up-Front Costs

The most obvious costs attributed to owning a vehicle are the upfront ones – specifically, the list price or deposit and initial payments. If you’re buying your car outright, the list price is more than likely the most you will ever spend on your car. For second-hand buyers, it was also a cost that inflated significantly in the past two years, as a result of the semiconductor shortage reducing new vehicle availability and surging demand in used car markets.

For those who do not have the immediate capital available to buy a car outright, there are still major costs in the form of a vehicle deposit and any lease or finance payments they may have agreed to. Here, it is also important to consider any interest that may have been added to a finance agreement – something which can constitute an unexpected cost if hoping to buy a car outright.

General Costs

After the purchase or finance of a car, there are some general costs associated with ensuring it is road-ready. Firstly, your car will need to be appropriately taxed in order to be road legal. Road tax is priced depending on the CO2 emissions of your chosen make of car. On top of this, you are also legally required to take out car insurance, in order that you are covered in the event of an accident or collision with another road user – be they pedestrian or another motorist.

Running Costs

On top of these legal costs, there are ongoing costs attributed to keeping your car in ship shape for the foreseeable future. One of the leading costs in this regard is that of tyre replacement; as is true with most moving parts in your car, your tyres require close attention. As such, you will need to buy new sets of tyres for your car on a semi-regular basis – to keep yourself and your passengers safe, and so as not to fall foul of driving legislation.

You will also need to reckon with the cost of an annual MOT, another legal requirement that ensures your car remains road legal. Lastly, there is of course the cost of petrol to contend with. This is something of an increasing cost, as instability in Ukraine leads to growing pressure on the oil and gas market. Even as costs rise, they are important to manage as a new motorist.

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