January 11, 2009

The high price of running a car.

Some of you will have seen my tweet recently about paying the yearly vehicle tax. (Here in the UK the government levies a tax on each vehicle which varies according to the age and green credentials of the vehicle. By paying the tax you end up with a small 'disc' that you display in the window. Not displaying one - or having an out of date one - is a traffic offence which can result in a fine and license endorsement). This year I had to pay £170 ($255) for the tax disc. Last year it was £165 ($247). That's a 3% hike - which is more or less par for the course with these things.

I think that's quite a lot. However it could be worse. If I drove, say, a car registered on or after 23/03/06 that had emmisions of over 225 g/km I would be paying £400 per year ($600). Remember that's just for the right to actually take a car onto a public road!

On top of that a car in the UK has to buy petrol (or diesel). Even with the price of oil dropping as it has done recently they price of fuel is still around $5 per gallon (Based on a UK gallon of 4.54 litres rather than the US gallon of 3.6). An average UK car will return around 30 miles per gallon and will drive 12000 miles in a year. This equates to a fuel cost of $2000 in petrol alone. At the height of the oil price hikes last year that price would have risen to $3300. Add to that the cost of repairing the car, changing oil & tyres and wear & tear and the cost can be quite astronomical. This doesn't even include the the actual cost of buying the car (or funding the purchase through a loan)

Is the government trying to influence us to stop driving? If so, what is the alternative? British public transport has suffered from a steep decline in funding. The services are atrocious. If I wanted to visit my parents by train, for example, I would have to take at least three trains with a duration of up to 6.5 hours for a cost of £90.70 ($136) over a weekend. The trains run at inconvenient times and I would have to spend most of the Friday and Sunday on route.

The coaches are not much better. The coach journey takes between 8.5 and 12 hours and involves a change with a wait in the coach station of at between 40 minutes and two hours, The times are inconvenient (departing at 5.45 in the morning and arriving back at 1 o'clock in the morning), and the fare is between £44 ($66) and £51 ($76).

In the car I can do the journey door to door in 3.5 hours for a fuel cost of less than £51 ($76) and leave and return when I want.

What's wrong with this picture?

If you're not following me on twitter and want to then click here.
(Originally posted at Gaz4695's Posterous account. Image courtesy of VirtualErn. Released under a creative commons attribution license)

0 comments (See Policy http://tinyurl.com/5qgr5x):

Post a Comment