'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

'Power outages do nothing to inspire confidence in would-be EV buyers'
Opinion

'Power outages do nothing to inspire confidence in would-be EV buyers'

Mike Rutherford thinks the switch to an all-electric UK car market hasn't been thought through
29 Nov 2020
'MINI’s brand focus needs to rub off on BMW, too'
Opinion

'MINI’s brand focus needs to rub off on BMW, too'

BMW needs to regain its identity and should look to MINI for inspiration, says Steve Fowler
28 Oct 2020
'The Pop-Up Motor Show is a simple idea at precisely the right time'
Opinion

'The Pop-Up Motor Show is a simple idea at precisely the right time'

Mike Rutherford thinks the new Pop-Up Motor Show can be the perfect way to serve the demands of Britain's car users
11 Oct 2020
'The Land Rover Defender and Aston Martin DBX must be front runners for World Car Design of the Year'
Opinion

'The Land Rover Defender and Aston Martin DBX must be front runners for World Car Design of the Year'

Mike Rutherford thinks cars from Gerry McGovern and Marek Reichman are favourites to win design award
30 Aug 2020

Most Popular

New Suzuki Swace estate launched on UK market
News

New Suzuki Swace estate launched on UK market

Based on the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, the Suzuki Swace estate comes to the UK
11 Nov 2020
All-new Renault Kangoo van unveiled ahead of 2021 launch
Renault Kangoo ZE Concept - show pic
Renault Kangoo

All-new Renault Kangoo van unveiled ahead of 2021 launch

First images of the third-generation Renault Kangoo panel van - which will soon square-up to the new Volkswagen Caddy
12 Nov 2020
How to transfer a number plate from one car to another
MINI number plate change
Tips & advice

How to transfer a number plate from one car to another

Need to know how to transfer a number plate between vehicles? Our step-by-step guide breaks it down
22 Nov 2020