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Cost of motoring soars by 6.3% as drivers feel the pinch

Press release -

Cost of motoring soars by 6.3% as drivers feel the pinch

Rising fuel costs account for a third (33%) of the £346 annual increase

The average annual cost of owning and running a new car has jumped by 6.3% in the last 12 months, according to RAC’s annual Cost of Motoring (CoM) Index¹. The £346 increase, which is twice the rate of inflation², takes average costs up to £5,869 from £5,523 in 2009. This equates to £112.87 per week or 48.91p per mile.

The Index addresses the costs of owning and running a new car and includes fuel, insurance, maintenance, road tax, breakdown cover, depreciation and finance.

In addition to the overall costs, the Cost of Motoring Index also focuses on the day-to- day running costs by stripping out both depreciation and car finance. New car running costs have increased by £197 (8.9%) to £2,417. This figure is up from £2,219 in 2009 and equates to a weekly cost of £46.48 – an increase of £3.79 per week.

Overall, it now costs an average of £736 more to own and run a car than it did before the onset of the recession and financial crisis in 2007.

High fuel prices continue to hurt motorists

A key contributor to this year’s rise in the cost of motoring has been the unwelcome return of record high fuel prices. The cost of fuel for the average motorist has escalated £116 (9.8%) to £1,300 per year.

Both diesel and petrol car owners have witnessed inflation busting increases at the pumps of 14.8% and 12.6% respectively. However, the Index has identified one small crumb of comfort for new car owners with an improvement in fuel consumption of 2.7% -slightly offsetting the steep rise in fuel prices.

RAC motoring strategist Adrian Tink commented: “Rises in the cost of motoring for Britain’s 34 million drivers shows no sign of ending. Owning a car is a necessity for most people but they’re once again being hit in their pockets – this time by an increase in costs which is double the rate of inflation.

“Fuel continues to be a major contributor in the rising costs, with little being done to control the spiralling prices at the pumps. It’s time for the Government to look closely at the problem and take action, starting by cancelling the planned fuel duty rise of 0.76p in January 2011.

“Motorists will continue to be hit hard in the New Year with the additional rise in VAT to 20%. This is likely to take us into a new era of record petrol prices, which is why it is vital the Government takes a close look at the issue to help end the war on motorists’ pockets.”

Used Cars

Overall, used cars continue to be considerably cheaper to own than an equivalent new vehicle. The ownership cost of a used car is now £4,441 or £85.41 per week. This figures is £1,428 (24%) cheaper than for a new vehicle. Year-on-year, despite increases in fuel, insurance and maintenance costs, there has actually been a small reduction (£18) in used cars costs since 2009. This is explained by the fact that depreciation on used cars fell 14.2% in 2010 as a result of prices in the used car market falling from the 2009 highs.

When looking at the running costs, used cars are actually £553 moreexpensive to run than new cars. This is primarily due to maintenance costs which are considerably higher (£437) because of the added wear and tear on older vehicles. Also, fuel consumption is worse and insurance is more expensive on older vehicles.

- Ends -

For further information, please contact:

John Franklin: RAC Press Office, 01603 680 795,

Adrian Tink: RAC motoring strategist, 01603 681 922,

Dave Chambers: Hill & Knowlton, 0207 413 3155

¹ RAC Cost of Motoring Index is based on a pool of 17 new cars and weighted by their level of ownership. Research on the Cost of Motoring Index was conducted by CAP Motor Research, Innovation Motorconsult and RAC. The data was analysed and compiled by Go-Motoring, who also consulted Parker’s Guide Target Prices, Mammoth Cars, Car And Van Deals Direct, Drive The Deal, UK Car Discount, Vans Direct, Van Discount, Van Man, Car And Van Deals Direct and for research figures.

² Based on the October Consumer Price Index of 3.2%

Notes to Editors

Cost of Motoring running cost comparison 2009 – 2010:

Consideration New Cars2010 - £ New Cars2009 - £
Fuel 1300 1184
Insurance 483 409
Maintenance 381 366
Vehicle Excise Duty 111 114
RAC Membership 143 146
Depreciation 3072 2920
Car Finance 379 384
Total Cost (Per Year) £5,869 £5,523
Total Cost (Per Week) £112.87 £106.21
Used/new car, and used year on year comparisons: (Used cars based on vehicles 3 – 6 years old)
New Cars 2010 – £ Used Cars 2010 – £ Used Cars 2009 – £
Fuel 1300 1396 1197
Insurance 483 515 472
Maintenance 381 818 787
Vehicle Excise Duty 111 99 143
RAC membership 143 143 146
Depreciation 3072 1040 1213
Finance 379 430 501
Total £5,869 £4,441 £4,459

About RAC

  • With around seven million customers, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, insurance, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs.
  • RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its members and has been ranked first for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates' UK Roadside Assistance Study for the last four years. RAC was also the top-named breakdown organisation in the July 2009, January 2010 and July 2010 half-yearly UK Customer Satisfaction Index from the Institute of Customer Service.
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*based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2009

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Notes to EditorsOur dedicated line for journalists is +44 (0)1454 664 123. Please note: the press office is unable to help with individual customer enquiries - please visit the RAC contacts page for the right number to call.ISDN radio studio facilities are available for interviews Monday to Friday.About the RACThe RAC provides complete peace of mind to 12m UK private and business drivers, whatever their motoring needs. Its services include:
Breakdown assistance. Its highly-skilled, 1,600-strong branded patrol workforce attends more than two million breakdowns every year, fixing on average four out of five vehicles at the roadside. The RAC’s patrol fleet is one of the most advanced in the world, and was the first to roll out both an All-Wheels-Up recovery system, allowing the vast majority of vehicles to be recovered from a single patrol van, and EV Boost mobile electric vehicle charging units
Insurance. The RAC is a top-five car insurance broker having surpassed the 500,000 policies-in-force milestone in 2018. It also offers ‘black box’ telematics policies, as well as home and travel insurance
Other motoring services. The RAC leads in the development of new solutions for business, fleets, electric vehicles and future car technology. Its additional products and services include a personal loans offering, a used car buying website, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information. It also has a network of Approved Dealers and Approved Garages which combine the trust of RAC brand with local service and convenience
The RAC also works to support the interests of its members and UK drivers on the most important motoring issues which it identifies via the annual RAC Report on Motoring and the RAC Opinion Panel. The Report on Motoring is the longest running analysis of driver opinion in the UK having been published every year since 1989.For more information about the RAC, visit the RAC website.

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