'The cost of driving is the biggest concern for modern motorists'

The rising cost of driving in the UK is the biggest concern for motorists, says Mike Rutherford

OPINION Money

The biggest day-to-day problem for real-world motorists is not the much talked about death sentence (really?) for the internal combustion engine. Neither is it the state of the UK’s EV charging network, which a lot of people might not even use during the next decade or more. 

For the motoring masses, regular power outages are unlikely to be the problem many people suggest as more motorists defect from petrol and diesel to leccy.  As for those redundancy notices that taxi drivers, white van men and truckers will inevitably receive when salary-shredding autonomous vehicles finally hit the streets – they also remain several years away, so no need to lose sleep over this particular job-destroying revolution just yet, eh?

Best electric cars to buy

Truth is, the fastest-growing concern for most drivers is the rising cost of daily driving. That’s not just my opinion. It’s confirmed by the just-published RAC Report on Motoring 2019. The ‘What are drivers most concerned about?’ chapter shows they are increasingly troubled by car-related inflation. And while the RAC highlights the usual suspects – parking, fuel and insurance – it doesn’t touch on other crucially important areas. You know, things like current and future tolls, congestion/emission taxes, major fines for minor misdemeanours, and disgracefully high workshop labour rates of £200 an hour at some greedy franchised dealerships.

Neither does the RAC discuss the rising prices of everyday motors. Even modest medium-sized petrol or diesel family cars are becoming harder to find below £20,000. And think nearer £30k (ouch!) for similarly sized versions with 100 per cent electric power. Don’t beat yourself up about all this. Owning or using a motor car is thankfully still for the overwhelming majority, not just the privileged, fabulously wealthy minority. 

That said, the biggest, most painful killers for motorists according to the RAC report are (in alphabetical order) depreciation, finance, fuel, insurance, maintenance/servicing and, more recently, parking fees/fines, plus road/bridge/city fees-cum-punitive taxes. 

But honestly, each of the above areas of motoring expenditure can be greatly reduced or, in the case of the most expensive parking bays and direct road user fees, almost eliminated altogether, by boldly boycotting them before opting for the alternatives. As for traditional and unavoidable costs, concentrate on and do something about the big ones. Keep reminding yourself that the only interest rate to aim for is zero per cent APR; steer clear of new cars that have a reputation for depreciating quickly; and never buy a vehicle until you know what insurance group it comfortably or uncomfortably sits in.

Remember: the near £5,000 that the owner of a new or newish Rolls-Royce Phantom might blow each month on depreciation is roughly what you, dear reader, need to pay – all-in – each year on purchase cost, finance, insurance, fuel, other running costs, parking and depreciation to invest in a decent, if modest, new or newish small to mid-size car. Now that’s what I call a bargain. 

What is your biggest motoring concern? Let us know in the comments below...

Recommended

'This really is a great time to buy a new car'
Opinion dealership
Opinion

'This really is a great time to buy a new car'

Steve Fowler points out some great new car deals to be had in post-lockdown
14 Apr 2021
'Some traditions need to be abandoned, and working 9-5 is one of them'
Opinion commute
Opinion

'Some traditions need to be abandoned, and working 9-5 is one of them'

Britain needs to re-think its approach to commuting, according to Mike Rutherford
11 Apr 2021
'It's clear that lorry drivers deserve much-improved working conditions'
Truck
Opinion

'It's clear that lorry drivers deserve much-improved working conditions'

Mike Rutherford proposes some alternative options to help streamline British imports and exports
23 Jan 2021
'Gordon Murray is my British motor industry person of 2020'
Opinion

'Gordon Murray is my British motor industry person of 2020'

Mike Rutherford highlights his positive car industry stories of 2020
4 Jan 2021

Most Popular

Average speed cameras on motorways get approval from drivers
Average speed camera
News

Average speed cameras on motorways get approval from drivers

UK drivers are in favour of average speed cameras on motorways despite the majority admitting to breaking 70mph limit
10 May 2021
Next-generation Range Rover Sport to get racy new look
Range Rover Sport render
News

Next-generation Range Rover Sport to get racy new look

Our exclusive images preview what the upcoming Range Rover Sport could look like
12 May 2021
New Gordon Murray all-electric SUV plans revealed
GMA T.50 -
News

New Gordon Murray all-electric SUV plans revealed

Gordon Murray is in the process of developing a small all-electric SUV
11 May 2021