Thursday, 9 February 2017

Fun With Numbers: Six surprising ways to cut your fuel consumption


8)* Buy a new car

If your vehicle isn’t becoming any more efficient after servicing, then maybe it’s time to think about getting another. It may seem counterproductive to spend money to save money, but buying a new car will save you money on fuel, tax and insurance. A new vehicle worth in the region of £10,000** could save you up to £12 a week on fuel.

Most of the suggestions are perfectly sensible. I've checked the figures, and yes, you can save about £500 a year on petrol if you replace a car doing 40 mpg with one doing 60 mpg (assuming 10,000 miles per year etc). The savings get proportionately smaller the more efficient cars are - going from 60 mpg to 80 mpg only saves £230 a year; going from 80 mpg to 100 mpg only saves £140 and so on.

IMHO, an annual saving of £500 on petrol does not justify buying a new car. You lose three-quarters of the value of the new car over the next ten years while saying £5,000 in petrol. That is just nonsense.

* Yes, they actually list ten ways to cut your fuel consumption, thus making a mockery of the headline.

** You don't get much of a new car for £10,000, do you? Half an MX5, one-third of a Ford Kuga etc. My approach is, wait for ten or fifteen years and buy one at a 80% - 90% discount to original list price.


Steven_L said...

My approach is, wait for ten or fifteen years and buy one at a 80% - 90% discount to original list price.

And if I lived in London I'd most likely have the same approach, if I even bothered running a car at all. If I worked for the council in London I doubt I would be able to afford it!

But if you commuted 18,000 miles a year in Aberdeenshire, you might just be persuaded on the benefits of a new car. There is quite simply no cheap way to drive 20,000 miles a year.

It's easy enough to get 20% off 'list price' on a wide range of cars simply by using drivethedeal or carfile. A lot of manufacturers offer finance at 0% and thereabouts.

I did the sums on buying an old car v getting a new car on HP. It basically works out as a gamble. You're gambling that you won't have to spend much money repairing the old car / that you will get another trouble free 60k out of it.

If you drive the full 60k you get on a 3 year warranty, and shop smart, new cars do make sense. I did have a sit in a new MX-5 by the way, but I didn't fit.

Curtis said...

Maybe not buy a brand new car, but buying a newer car could be sensible.

Second-hand cars which are only 2 years old can occasionally be found for 50% off the brand new price.

If your existing car is 10 years old and has done ~100K miles then replacing it with a 2 year old car with ~10000 miles is more or less like getting a new one, isn't it?

Bayard said...

"Yes, they actually list ten ways to cut your fuel consumption, thus making a mockery of the headline."

Finding ten ways to cut your fuel consumption instead of six is part of the surprise?

"A new vehicle worth in the region of £10,000** could save you up to £12 a week on fuel."

Perhaps they mean "new" as in "new to you". If you are currently driving an old banger and you splash out on a £10K second hand car, it is quite likely that you will see a fairly substantial drop in fuel consumption, plus all the other benefits of having a newer car.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Sl hang about. If I lived in Aberdeenshire and had a 30 or 40 mile commute through the cold and rain, I would of course by a new-ish reliable car.

My rough calc's say that your leasing payments work out at about 20p/mile over three years, even if you walk away after three years, plus 10p/mile for petrol = 30p, which is pretty good going.

(Clearly, I live in the driest and mildest county, I buy old roadsters because I like them and I just use them for popping to the shops and joyriding at the weekend. The mpg of the MX5 is appalling, 25 or so, the MR2 is pretty good, nearly 40).

I was merely pointing out that the petrol saving in isolation is no reason to buy a newer car.

C and B, fair enough, if you buy a new-ish one for £10k, drive more than 10,000 miles a year and your mpg goes up from 40 with old car to 70 with new car, you are at least in a break even situation as regards petrol savings vs new car. Plus some people like new cars for some reason, with all the electronic beeping and blinking.

ThomasBHall said...

Slight derail of topic- I drive about 10,000 miles a year- and have always driven old cars. After following a lease deal thread on a Pistonheads forum last summer, I was alerted to a deal on a new Golf R that I couldn't resist. I am in total paying less than 20% of the list price of the car over two years- including road tax. The costs will be no more than running the 10 year old e-class I had before. I know my costs up front and hand it back at the end. So far, it's brilliant! I won't talk about what fuel consumption you get in a 300BHP hot hatch though...

Lola said...

Best deal recently. In 2012 I bought a four year old Nissan X Trail TDCi Sport Auto with 17,000 miles on it with full Nissan service history and warranted miles for £13250. That's now with one of my daughters. New they were £25,000 +. Comfy low cost reliable motoring.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TBH, L, you can get good deals on new or newish cars, and you and Steve L are experts on this. But shaving £500 a year off your petrol costs is only a small part of the calculation, that was my point.

Lola said...

MW. Yes. Totally agree. Fuel costs are the least of your worries. Depreciation and VAT are the real value for money killers.
IMHO these PCP deals are in effect VAT financing deals - off balance sheet government borrowing. Take VAT out of the depreciation curve for new cars and it is much, much flatter.

Lola said...

Mind you, having been 'told' to 'give' my X Trail to Daughter No.1 I then went and spoilt myself with one of these:

Extremely silly money. Don't ask. But the 'best' way I could think of spending my state old age pension...

Lola said...

Anyone remember this?

And referring to the Motors article it stays 'stick to the speed limits'. That in itself does not lead to economy. Driving less fast does - within a range of speeds related to the specific vehicle and how it is geared.

FWIW the 1100/1300 cc car I race does about 12 mpg at racing speeds...and that's economical in its class. Why? It's is actually and comparatively very light.

(getting boring now...)

Bayard said...

"Depreciation and VAT are the real value for money killers."

Which is why I've always bought old cars privately.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, it's your money and £30k for a car is nothing outrageous. Just not my cup of tea.

B, if you buy a second hand car from a dealer, he only pays VAT on his margin.

So if he buys for £2k and sells for £3k, the VAT is only 1/6 of £1k = £166.

Bayard said...

How does that work, does the motor trade get a special deal on VAT? Isn't it the case that, in most areas of commerce, if you buy privately (i.e. pay no VAT) and sell through your VAT registered business, you have to charge VAT on the whole amount of what you sell.

Mark Wadsworth said...


Bayard said...

They do love to make things complicated. I like the way the form you have to use for a horse is designed for a car, complete with a box for the reg no. Have these people even got into the second half of the C20th yet?