Is it possible to run a car for less than $120 a month? Ask many people, and they’ll tell you that it’s impossible. You have to pay for fuel, motoring taxes, state taxes, loan payments, maintenance, and insurance. It all adds up pretty quick.
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The average person in the US spends around $9,000 per year on their vehicle, cutting a large chunk out of their income. But when you think about it, the primary service you get from your car is the freedom of being able to go where you like, when you like, any time of day or night. Few people want to sacrifice that all together, especially if they’re a busy family with lots of commitments.
So what’s the solution? Let’s take a look at how to get your car costs down to ridiculously low levels.
Choose A Second Hand, Japanese-Made Highly Fuel-Efficient Model
There’s no point trying to save money on your private motoring costs while driving a Humvee or a big German 4×4. You’ll be guzzling gas like there’s no tomorrow. Likewise, eco-friendly cars are also expensive up front, so again, they’re not an option.
The good news is that there is a sweet spot in the market: second hand, highly-reliable Japanese-made cars, like those from Toyota, with exceptional fuel economy. It’s easy to pick up a small second-hand car, say an Auris, for around $2,000 that’ll do 50 mpg on long-haul trips, doing 55 mph on the highway.
Consider Fuel Costs
On the subject of fuel costs, if you can achieve 50 mpg and you travel about 5,000 miles per year, then you’re looking at annual gas costs of about $390. That translates to just $32.5 a month on fuel: not bad at all, and well within budget.
Claiming compensation after an accident may also be another great way to keep your net driving costs down. Claims can often run into the tens of thousands of dollars helping turn driving from a net cash-draining activity into one that makes you money. If you’ve been involved in an accident, take a look at your legal options and whether you can claim any money back for injury.
Save On Servicing
It’s a good idea to avoid European brands if possible. Servicing costs for BMWs and Mercedes, in particular, are notoriously high and will empty your bank account faster than pretty much anything else. Right at the other end of the scale are manufacturers from the Far East. Kia, for instance, has an unusually low average servicing costs over a five-year interval, as does Toyota.
For Short Trips, Choose Hybrid
Electrical energy is a lot cheaper than energy from gasoline. It costs about a quarter as much per mile to travel using electricity than it does to make the same trip using fossil fuels. The price of hybrids is coming down all the time, with many compelling options on the second-hand market, helping you to reduce your overall motoring costs substantially. Will you buy a hybrid-electric vehicle?