All drivers know roughly how much they spend on insurance, tax, and fuel, but what about those other driving costs that you might not consider? Additional driving expenses can quickly add up, creating a ‘hidden’ cost to motoring that we don’t always consider.
Service station snacks
The hidden costs of motoring were brought into stark focus recently when Admiral Car insurance carried out a mystery shopper test comparing UK service station snack prices with the cost of buying the same items elsewhere. It revealed that, if you stop to pick up snacks, drinks, or takeaway meals while on the road, you could be paying over 100% more than you would when buying the same items on the high street.
Admiral Car Insurance found that not only do food and drink products cost more in service stations than they do on the high street, but prices differ depending on which area of the country the services station is in as well.
A selection of snacks (water, Coke, a ham sandwich, a sausage roll, crisps, chocolate and Wine Gums) that costs £15.78 in the South West of England cost just £12.58 in the North West. This affords drivers in the North West a 25% saving. However, the same items would total just £6.11 in a supermarket. That’s almost 50% cheaper than the most reasonable service station.
The cost of drinks and snacks is rarely considered when taking a long road trip. However, if you have several passengers, the cost can come as something as a shock, particularly if you’ve carefully budgeted for your travel plans.
To avoid paying over the odds, stock up on food and drink before you set off – and use the PetrolPrices app to make sure you refuel at the best value petrol station too!
Paying to park is all part of driving into towns and cities in the UK. While many motorists keep spare change in the car for slotting into parking machines, the cost of parking in some areas now requires substantially more than just a few coins.
Late last year, it was announced that London was the second most expensive place to park in the world. The city charged an average price of £8.84 per hour, coming in at far more than the living wage for those aged 25 and older, which was set at £7.50.
New York City was the world’s most expensive place to park, with 60 minutes in a parking space costing a whopping £20.55 per hour on average. Contrast that with Bucharest, where drivers pay an average of 55 pence per hour to park their cars!
Stockholm, Athens and Oslo were also found to be expensive locations in which to park. However, those cities say that the high prices are intentional. The aim is to deter motorists from driving into the city centres, in a bid for them to become more eco-friendly.
Residents in London are also likely to pay extortionate amounts for parking permits. The most expensive permit is for the borough of Islington, setting the car owner back £545 per year for a single permit.
Strangely, the high-end borough of Kensington and Chelsea sells permits for the much lower price of £214, while a permit in Westminster costs just £141 per year. This suggests that there is very little joined up thinking behind how these prices are worked out!
Should you want to buy a parking space in its entirety in London, avoid South Kensington like the plague. The area is home to the most expensive parking space in the UK, costing £480,000. However, it could be worse – a space in central Manhattan reportedly sold for $1 million recently!