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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.
  • RAC Insurance has also been awarded the Best Overall Vehicle Insurance Provider 2010/11 by
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*based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2009

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Notes to Editors

For all media enquiries, please contact the RAC press team on +44 (0)1454 664 123. The line is manned by an on-call press officer outside office hours. ISDN radio studio facilities are available for interviews Monday to Friday.

About the RAC

First formed in 1897, the RAC has been looking after the needs of its members and championing the interests of drivers for more than 120 years.

Today it has more than eight million members and is one of the UK’s most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistanceinsurancebuying a used carvehicle inspections and checkslegal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information – the RAC offers a solution for all motoring needs. The RAC is committed to making motoring easier, safer, more affordable and more enjoyable for drivers and road users.

The RAC is the motorist’s champion and campaigns to support the interests of its members and UK drivers at a national level. This includes voicing concerns about the increasing cost of motoring, particularly the price of fuel and the high level of tax levied on it, advancing levels of road safety, and supporting the needs of all drivers, from young to old.

The RAC’s annual Report on Motoring – first published in 1989 – is one of a kind and provides a clear insight into the concerns and issues facing today’s motorists.

For the very latest news on UK fuel prices, check RAC Fuel Watch. It provides a comprehensive guide to the latest UK unleaded petrol and diesel prices – both at the wholesale level and at the pump - and tracks these prices daily to help drivers check if the price they pay to fill up is a fair one.

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