How to cut the cost of motoring

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Five tips to help cut the cost of motoring

1. Shop around

Automatically renewing your car insurance can prove an expensive mistake. With a difference of up to £400 a year between the cheapest and most expensive premiums – and with insurance costs falling for male drivers since insurers were banned from using gender in calculating prices – there’s a lot to gain by searching the market. You can also cut your premiums by keeping your car in a garage or on a driveway and accumulating no-claims credits on your policy.

2. Buy cheap fuel

Rising fuel prices were largely to blame for the rebound in inflation last month. At www.petrolprices.com you can search for the cheapest fuel supplier in your area, from supermarkets and service stations to small, independent garages. All you have to do is enter your postcode or location into the website and it’ll list the cheapest options near you.

3. Reduce consumption

Cut your fuel usage by removing any excess weight from your car (such as unused roof racks), as a heavier load increases your fuel consumption. Also drive smoothly by avoiding sharp braking and accelerating slowly and make sure tyres have the correct air pressure.

4. Try a black box:

Telematics insurance policies base pricing on a small black box fitted into the car to send the insurer information on your driving. This includes cornering speeds, braking and the time of day you drive, all of which helps the insurer work out how careful you are behind the wheel. The more careful drivers are rewarded with lower premiums.

5. Pay-as-you-go

If you only use a car for supermarket shopping and the occasional day out it may be more cost-effective to use a car scheme. These schemes, which tend to be city-based, are based on annual memberships and charge by the hour of usage.

While you need to pay for the fuel you use, there’s no outlay on insurance, breakdown cover and other costs associated with owning a car. City Car Club, which has vehicles in Edinburgh and Glasgow, charges £60 a year, an hourly rate starting at £5.20 and fuel at 22p a mile. Alternatively, car sharing with a work colleague can significantly reduce costs.