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Drive Down the Cost of Your Car

It would seem that times have never been harder for UK motorists and with good reason too. The rising cost of car insurance, astronomical fuel prices – the price per gallon having reached the £6 mark – and an increase in VAT have all left some car owners struggling to run their vehicle.

Despite a promised 1p per litre fuel duty cut and plans to delay the next planned rise, fuel prices remain exorbitantly high and the average car insurance policy continues to rise by 44p per day.

It's unlikely that the situation is going to improve in the near future, so it's worthwhile following the simple steps below to drive down the cost of car ownership:

Don't stick with the same insurer: Hands up those who have let their car insurance policy automatically renew with their current insurer. We've all done it, but as a nation we waste billions every year by unnecessarily staying with last year's insurer.

Aim to start getting quotes for the next year's policy about a month before your old policy expires so you can compare a range of policies and find the cheapest deal. Why not use a comparison website to give you a number of competitive quotes from a variety of insurers.

Shop around for your fuel:

Don't fall into the habit of filling up at the nearest and most convenient petrol station; you'll more often than not pay through the nose when you could have saved 3-6p per litre by looking for the cheapest place to fill up in your local area.

Once you've found the best place to get your fuel, make sure you get a full tank of fuel to get maximum benefit from the saving.

Drive frugally:

Aim to reduce your speed and avoid harsh acceleration, instead moving calmly and smoothly up through the gears and keeping your vehicle in a gear as possible to get maximum fuel efficiency.

By reading the road ahead you can slowly ease off the accelerator or gradually speed up, instead of having to act at the last minute and waste fuel.

Sticking to the 70mph speed limit on duel carriageways and motorways and you will use between 10-20% less fuel than travelling at 80mph (and risking being given a fine and 3 points for speeding).

Lift share with a colleague:

Why not consider sharing the daily commute with a colleague who lives near to you. Take it in turns to make the drive in and cut your fuel bill in half in the process (not to mention reducing the wear and tear on your car).

If you have a bike or your place of work takes part in the bike to work scheme (giving employees access to reduced price bikes) why not consider using this method of transport and pedal your way to fitness in the process.

Watch out for under inflated tyres:

It's easy to forget to carry out simple maintenance checks such as; checking tyre pressures, brake pad wear, oil levels, etc but you'll pay for it when it comes to your tyres.

Under inflated tyres decrease your fuel economy and wear down quicker, both of which are bad for your wallet.

Aim to check them weekly and refer to your cars instruction manual for correct pressures (also adjust according to vehicle load).

Downsize your car:

If you're lucky enough to be a 2 car family, then why not consider downsizing one of them to something smaller and more economical.

Small cars such are much cheaper to run, and if you get one of the small diesel engines, you will get a much reduced road tax (and you'll get as much as 50-60MPG).

Cut down the cost of car insurance:

As with any insurance policy, the price you pay all comes down to a calculation of your risk to the insurer. Anything you can do to reduce this risk should, in theory, reduce the price of your premium.

Easy ways to apply this theory include; reducing your annual mileage (keep it accurate), taking a pass plus course (if you're a new driver), adding an older additional driver, changing your job description (some roles are associated with higher risk but again this needs to be as accurate as possible) and finally, improving the security of your vehicle (add an alarm or immobiliser).

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