Notes from Catherine Rowett, former Green Party MEP for East of England and deputy coordinator of the Eastern Region Green Party*(UK). Biographical reflections on life as an MEP. Longer reflections and discussions on issues relating to policy, the good life, justice, equality, anti-austerity economics and the future of the planet. This is also a forum for exchanging ideas on how to tread lightly on the planet and avoid supporting exploitation and corrupt practices. Here we go...

Thursday, 8 March 2007

The cost of a car

Today someone on Radio Norfolk estimated that the cost of running a car (which she'd just decided to give up) was £3,000 a year. This was for an old, nothing special, second hand car in which depreciation is not too dramatic.

I rather suspect it must actually be a lot more than that.


Tiger said...

According to this the realistic figure is quite a lot higher!

Richard said...

By far the biggest cost involved with running a car is the petrol. It therefore follows that you can reduce the cost of driving substantially by using less fuel... Some obvious options are: driving less often, driving more slowly/efficiently, driving a small efficient car.
My accounts show that for the tax year that's about to end, our total expenditure on the car is just under £1500. That's including insurance, MOT, road tax, service, tolls, parking and, of course, fuel. That may sound like a lot, but I think it's cheap, considering the benefits we appreciate from owning a car. I certainly can't imagine it's an accurate reflection of the true cost to society of owing a car - what with government subsides for car-building and road-use in general.
As 80-90% of our mileage is business, we can claim this as an expense before tax. In fact, using the the Inland Revenue's approved mileage rate, the total amount claimed will probably be higher than the total cost of running the car! The rate is fixed, whether you drive a 4x4 or a G-whizz - as it should be, IMO.
The truth is that, despite what the government says about trying to get people to use their cars less, the cost of driving, in real terms, has got cheaper.