Let’s face it; filling your car up with petrol can be a costly exercise. As motoring costs continue to rise, many Australians may be finding it increasingly challenging financially to maintain their vehicles.
The annual Bingle Cost of Motoring Index reveals that it costs Australians $63 billion a year to keep their cars running on the roads. This works out to be an average cost for an individual driver of $5736 in 2014. Back in 2012, when the index started, it was $5379.
“There’s no denying that the main pressure point for drivers is petrol, but for many leaving the car at home is not an option so they’ve had to get savvier with their spending habits,” Marcela Balart, from Bingle, says.
“In the past 12 months we’ve seen motorists cut back on servicing and maintenance costs, and shop around for cheaper registration and insurance.”
“While you can’t control petrol prices, there are things you can do to reduce your cost of motoring. Check that your car is fuel efficient and analyse how often and how far you drive; can you reduce it? And do the obvious and obey road rules and avoid traffic fines.”
“When it come saving on petrol, try driving more smoothly, which could save you up to 35% of fuel compared to aggressive drivers who accelerate hard and brake heavily,” Jack Haley, senior policy advisor vehicles and environment, NRMA motoring and services, says.
“Also, take out anything heavy in the car that you don’t need such as golf clubs, tools, and even remove roof-racks. NRMA testing shows that you can increase fuel consumption by 24 per cent with a lighter load.”
The key to saving money is to maximise the use of your car in every way possible. That not only involves fuel consumption, but ensuring that you are doing everything in your power to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly, is well maintained and you get the best deals when it comes to insurance.
When it comes to insurance, Haley recommends that consumers ring two or three car insurance companies and ask specific questions related to your vehicle.
“Consumers need to shop around for car insurance and ask questions related to the use of the car, the make, the model, the odometer reading for example,” he says. “Look at the fine print to see if there are any exclusions and check whether the policy restricts you to certain repairers, which may be a long way from where you would prefer,” Haley says.
Cheaper motoring could be only one gear away.