Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Frugal motoring


According to research released by the AA this week, the average cost of running a family car for a year has dropped by €178.05 to €10,671.37. That figure is the result of the AA’s annual Cost of Motoring survey, which tots up the figures from a range of factors such as fuel, insurance, servicing, and tax.

Though the AA has calculated a 0.46% increase in the cost of fuel compared to last year, a decrease in motor insurance premiums is partly behind this reduction. Some consumers, however, might not have seen any change in their insurance premium just yet.

“Motorists renew their motor insurance once per year so depending on when you pay you may not have seen any fall off in the cost yet,” says Conor Faughnan, the AA’s Director of Consumer Affairs. “The best we can say is that when we compare August of this year to August of last the cost did not get any worse overall.”

However, year on year comparisons don’t take into account the huge premium increases motorists shouldered more than a year or two ago. “While it appears some progress is being made in this space, in order for the trend to continue into the future and for motorists to ultimately start seeing their premiums drop it’s important that government continues to give this issue the attention it deserves,” Faughnan adds. “In the meantime there are some things you can do to lower your car insurance costs. If you have a spouse or partner then adding them to your insurance policy, as long as they have a clean driver record, can net you a discount of up to 20% and separately it’s always worth shopping around. Even if you receive a renewal quote which seems competitive call your current insurer and others to see if anyone can do better for you.”

Frugal steps

So what else can you do to reduce the cost of motoring?

Refuel wisely – There’s no point going far out of your way to refuel, but compare local fuel stations on for the best prices.

Maintenance – Maintaining your car can be a pain, but it could save you from a bigger problem further down the line. Make sure to do regular basic checks on easier items like engine oil, fluid levels and tyres – keeping your tyres inflated to the right level could result in an extra few thousand kilometres of lifespan. And bring it in for a service on a regular basis, around once a year or every 20,000km, depending on factors including the age of the vehicle.

Cycle to work – For most people, cycling to work is impossible, but if you live within a reasonable distance it might be worth the investment. The only fuel you’ll need are regular meals to keep your legs pumping, and you’ll find your health improving as the weeks and months go by. Consider a foldable bike if you’re completing part of the journey by bus or rail; Irish Rail, Luas and many other public transport providers will carry foldable bikes for free (some also carry regular bikes without charge).

Carpool – A great way to save on your fuel bills, share the trip to work with a few colleagues, perhaps alternating the days you drive. Or check out Carpool Ireland or


When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.