Does driving a car in London have to be as pricey as everyone makes out?
Guest post by Zoe Price
It’s a fair assumption that owning a car in London is likely to be quite a bit more costly than it would be in other parts of the country. While the cost of purchasing the car itself might be comparable, London has high insurance costs, congestion charges and expensive parking costs to bear in mind.
The good news is that thanks to the great public transport system in the capital, most residents don’t have the need to own a car. But if it’s something that you’re not going to be able to avoid, here are our top tips for saving money on running your vehicle.
#1. Opt for a Greener Model
Spending a little more money initially on a greener make and model of car can lead to significant savings when it comes to the regular running costs of keeping and driving a car in London. Many eco-friendly, electric or hybrid cars are free or ridiculously cheap to tax, and there are several environmentally friendly models which are exempt from paying London’s expensive congestion charges, including the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla Model S, and the BMW i3.
#2. Shop Around for Insurance
When it comes to insuring your car, staying loyal to the same insurer can be a risky financial move, with most insurance companies offering no perks to customers who stay with them for a long time. Instead, shopping around for a cheaper deal whenever your policy is up for renewal is the best way to make sure that you are always taking advantage of the cheapest prices available to you. You can use quotezone.co.uk to find cheap car insurance UK deals; all you will need to do is enter yours and your vehicle’s details to see where you could be paying less to stay insured.
#3. Check Out Government Grants and Scrappage Schemes
If you have an old car that’s costing you more than it’s worth to run in the capital city, then you might be thinking of upgrading to a newer, more modern vehicle. So, it’s worth taking a look at any scrappage schemes that may be available to you where you can trade in your current, older car for money that you can put towards getting a new model. And if you are thinking of getting an electric or hybrid car, then you may be unaware that there are government grants available that you could be eligible for. Depending on the battery warranty, emissions and mileage of the car that you go for, the government have pledged to offer up to £4,500 towards your new vehicle in a bid to get all electric cars on the road by 2040.
#4. Use the Car Less
If you work in the capital, then you may find that although you need a car for other purposes, driving to work isn’t one of them. Often, you can save a significant amount of money on your car insurance policy if you do not need to include commuting, as this signifies that you are not usually driving at rush hour, which tends to be the most dangerous time of the day on the roads. In addition, avoiding driving into work in rush hour traffic will save you a huge amount of money on fuel and you won’t need to think about the cost of parking your car in the city. In many cases, it can work out cheaper to leave your car behind and get a monthly public transport ticket instead.
#5. Car Share
Do you have a friend or relative also living in the capital who needs a car on days that you won’t be using it? If so, then it might be worth looking into the option of sharing a car between the two of you. Having two drivers on the insurance can often bring the price of the policy down and if you are able to split the regular running costs between you, you could be reducing your car-related outgoings by up to half. Bear in mind that no matter how many people use the car, you will only need to pay one cost for things such as car tax, MOT tests and servicing, so this can be a very economical option.
#6. Car Hire Clubs
Last but not least, if you live in the capital and need a car infrequently, then it may work out cheaper to look into car borrowing schemes and car hire clubs. For example, you can find car hire clubs that cost just a few pounds per month to join and you will be provided with a card that gives you access to a range of cars parked around the city ready to go. Or, look into schemes that allow car owners to rent their cars out to drivers who need a temporary set of wheels.
Driving in London can be expensive, but the good news is that there are many steps you can take to keep costs as low as possible.