Costs of Running a Car

Running costs include car tax, fuel costs, servicing and maintenance (mot costs) and road insurance costs.

Monthly and annual road tax costs

CarVeto database includes car ownership fuel consumption economy based on average annual mileage.

The car listed below has a CO2 output of 108 g/km and falls under the emission’s category B and C: Annual mileage of 12,000 using a combination of town and motorway driving will bring a yearly fuel cost of £1,325.

Find out car running costs per mile, month and year for any vehicle. Get a free vehicle check using a car registration number.

Cost Of Running A Car



Step 2 of your 13-Step Guide to buying a new or used car.

The team at CarVeto offers vast motor trade experience for all private car buyers and sellers here in the UK.

We’ve been dealing with cars for over 30-years – use the links below to find the information you need the most.

Take a look below…

Fuel economy and road tax costs calculated by average UK mileage of 12,000; data provided by CarVeto vehicle database.

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED, commonly known as road tax) is listed. For the same vehicle, it is £20 for 12-months.

The CO2 emissions output determines the road tax rate.

Average Cost for Servicing and Maintenance


Getting your car serviced at supplying/franchised dealers is expensive and can be unnecessary.

What more does a franchised service department give that you don’t get at your local garage?

It turns out to be, not too much so servicing is a great way to save money.

Is main dealer servicing costs worth the extra spend?

Fair to say you will probably get a cleaner, more desirable and trusting experience and perhaps a courtesy car whilst yours get a service.

Your extra spend will go towards higher labour costs, genuine parts, and exact manufacturer specifications.

The latter two points might be vital to you, but if you’re after savings, the local independent workshop is the way to go.

Description of the likely costs of running a car in the UK.

More about servicing and maintenance 


The type of work carried out on your car determines how much you can save with an independent garage.


  • Servicing: Franchised dealer servicing quotes are between 5% and 20% higher than independents (depending on the dealers).
  • MOT Tests: That figure drops off for MOT testing and repairs to only around 5%.
  • Timing Belts: Quotes for camshaft belt replacements are up to 60% more expensive. Franchised might tell you they fit to manufacturer specifications, but we have no evidence of this playing a part in reliability.


A handful of reputable mobile mechanic services put convenience and price as priorities. Be surprised at reasonable rates from one or two trusted UK brands like Who Can Fix My Car and ClickMechanic.

The latter has been around for some years and carry healthy reviews on Trustpilot. Start with a car reg number and get an online quote for what your car needs. They also offer a pick-up/drop-off MOT check service.

Time is precious and this service is a reasonable method to saving on the costs of running a car. 

Check ClickMechanic for details.

Rules of thumb for predictable car economy

Petrol or diesel, car running costs per mile…

Petrol vehicles tend to be cheaper to run than their diesel counterparts. While diesel engines are generally more economical (travel further on the same amount of fuel), they are often more expensive to buy, and diesel costs more.


Running a diesel is better for those who drive a lot of miles, which is why most fleet vehicles are diesel.



Hybrid and electric cars cost less to run but remain more expensive to buy. Zero VED rates and slashed running costs are appealing but the offset to upfront costs even out.


Fuel cost plan

  1. Calculate your annual mileage and fuel spend – use CarVeto database to find out these numbers for any UK registered vehicle
  2. Compare the fuel figures to upfront costs of buying a petrol, diesel and hybrid model of the same car
  3. Will the cash you save on petrol/diesel be more or less than the upfront cost of buying a hybrid?


Let’s also consider the environmental impacts that influence buying choices. Some may be in the position to absorb a higher upfront cost and be ready to commit to the electric revolution today.

Small vehicles cost less to insure

Model and engine size are essential for insurance companies to provide accurate cover.


Small cars almost always cost less to cover. Contrast with a Range Rover or 5-Series BMW that are more expensive to buy, run, tax, and insure.

Insurance groups range from one to 50 and calculated using the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre.

To save more money, it’s worth looking at car insurance groups as well as insurance quote comparisons.

The insurance group lets you know about vehicle security, safety and whether it’s going to be expensive to fix after a prang.

Even if you have a poor driving history and want to insure a higher grouped car, there are ways to reduce your overall spend.

Cheapest cars to insure

Common models classed in group one (and cheapest to insure) include Fiat Panda, Citroen C1 and Nissan Micra.

CarVeto database provides insurance group ratings for all cars. You’ll need a vehicle registration number to check for yourself.

CarVeto screenshot displaying the insurance group of a vehicle.

Whilst the information we have listed is essential for the purse, it may not improve your street credibility.

If trendsetting is less of a priority, here are six small car favourites that won’t cost a fortune to keep on the road.

Cheapest Cars To Keep On The Road

Nissan Pixo

Ins group: 2-4, CO2 g/km: 103, MPG: 64

Suzuki Alto 1.0 Litre

Ins group: 4, CO2 g/km: 103, MPG – 64

Toyota Aygo 1.0 Litre

Ins group: 2-4, CO2 g/km: 106, MPG: 62

Citroen C1

Ins group: 1-7, CO2 g/km: 106, MPG: 62

Mazda 2 1.6 D Sport

Ins group: 9-16, CO2 g/km: 110, MPG: 67

Skoda Fabia 1.6 TDI

Ins group: 3-16, CO2 g/km: 109, MPG: 67