Many drivers are already feeling the impact of higher motoring costs: petrol prices have climbed in recent months, thanks to rising oil costs, and the cost of a litre of petrol will rise again next week when fuel duty goes up by 2p per litre.
To compound matters, things look set to get worse rather than better. The RAC has warned that if VAT is restored to 17.5%, the cost of petrol could reach £1.20 by the end of December.
However, while filling up at the pump may be getting more expensive, there are ways to offset these increases and there a number of ways to bring the overall cost down. Here are a few of our top tips for cheaper motoring.
Shop around for motor insurance
Well, it was always going to be top of our list, wasn't it?
With the new car registration plates hitting the forecourts next week, it's always a busy time of year for insurance renewals. Yet millions of drivers will pay more than they need for insurance because they stick with the same provider - this costs them £9.4billion a year according to research from moneysupermarket.com. Drivers could cut an average of £157 off their annual premium by shopping around according to independent research.
Identifying the best deal is easy - moneysupermarket.com's
car insurance comparison tool enables you to compare prices from more than 100 insurers in a matter of minutes.
There really are big savings to be had when it comes to insurance so make sure you compare prices each year and don't just renew with your existing insurer.
Take steps to reduce your premiums
In addition to shopping around for insurance, there are other ways to minimise your premiums, such as parking off-road, capping your annual miles and, if you're a new driver, sitting your Pass Plus - a certificate that shows you've had more extensive lessons.
Read our article '
How to beat rising car insurance costs' for some tips. Car share
If you're a commuter, the chances are you spend a fair amount of money simply travelling to and from work.
Why not car share with a colleague and effectively halve the amount you each pay, as well as cutting your impact on the environment.
Stick a notice up on the board at work and find a suitable commuting buddy.
It may seem easy to let your speedometer gradually creep up but speeding can be costly.
As well as a fine, speeders face climbing insurance premiums if they break the legal limits and are caught.
Simply changing your habits behind the wheel can cut the cost of your motoring as well as your impact on the environment.
There are many small steps you can take to make your driving more efficient - each one makes a small difference - but these really add up to a cheaper journey. Here are a few:
Keep a level speed and avoid having to brake heavily. Accelerating towards traffic lights is a needless waste of fuel.
Don't be tempted to turn the air conditioning on, or the heating in the summer.
Always try and drive in the highest gear possible as this means the car doesn't have to work as hard. Make your car as efficient as possible
What you really need to keep motoring costs down is a light, fuel-efficient car. Many such motors are in a lower tax band, to encourage drivers into more eco-friendly vehicles.
But even if you're in a less efficient car, you can maximise its efficiency and take a few steps to ensure it's using as little fuel as it can. Here are a few tips:
Turf out any unnecessary baggage. Your golf clubs don't need to live in the car, do they? Leaving heavy items in your boot makes the car work harder, meaning it uses more fuel than it needs to.
Check your tyre pressure - this isn't just safer, it's more efficient too. Tyres underinflated by 10% will suffer a 2.5% rise in fuel consumption so it's well worth checking your tyres regularly.
Keep the windows and sunroof closed as these add an unnecessary drag factor. Leave the car at home
Without wishing to state the obvious, avoiding using your car wherever possible is a simple way to reduce what you pay in fuel.
Although you might need your car to get to work, why not use a bicycle to visit friends or sign your children up to a walking bus to get them to school? It's cheaper, better for the planet and good for your health. You might even enjoy it!
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