Feeling the pinch? Try our top 5 tips for minimising the ever-rising costs of driving

Keeping a car on the road can be an expensive business at the best of times.

We’re all too aware how quickly the price of petrol and diesel can fluctuate, and when an out-of-the-blue car emergency hits? It can be a financial headache.

Nobody ever said that driving was a cheap activity.

However, it is an essential part of modern life for most of us. And who wouldn’t want to make sure they’re taking to the road in the most cost-effective way possible?

Chances are, if you’re reading this you’ve already taken the first step to affordability by considering leasing a car rather than buying new.

Leasing a car, whether for personal or business use, allows you to get behind the wheel of some of the most popular new models on the market with no fear of depreciation – and a whole host of other benefits too.

You’ll have access to the latest technology, can trade up every few years, and monthly payments are generally lower than PCP options.

But when the car is delivered to your door, you’ll still want to be running your car as cheaply as possible.

Never fear – we’ve pulled together five easy ways to keep you behind the wheel, and more of your money in your pocket.

Ford Puma

Consider a maintenance package

One of the most frustrating things about being a driver is the shock of unexpected maintenance costs.

We’ve all been there.

Something seems a bit awry, so you dutifully book in with your trusted local mechanic, only to find an exorbitant bill standing between you and your beloved lease car.

And normally it comes at a terribly inconvenient time.

Keeping on top of regular servicing and MOTs can help reduce the occurrence of surprise maintenance issues, but it won’t eliminate the risk of a head gasket blowing altogether.

By far the most cost-effective option in terms of keeping your vehicle in tip-top condition is to take out a monthly maintenance package. It does add a little more to your monthly rental, but ultimately it could lead to huge savings.

From scheduled servicing and MOTs to tyre and windscreen wiper replacement, a maintenance package is a comprehensive way to make sure you’ve covered all your bases.

However, some things aren’t included, so it pays to familiarise yourself with the specific components of your chosen plan. If you’re in any doubt, speak to your dedicated Leasing Consultant, who will be able to clarify this for you.

Payment for a maintenance plan is spread monthly, with the cost added to your overall leasing cost. It’s calculated in the same way as your vehicle payments, with the total cost spread over your lease term.

BYD ATTO 3 interior

Switch to electric leasing

Electric vehicles (EVs) have been big news for quite some time, what with the government pledge to ban all new petrol and diesel cars by 2035, the ever fluctuating cost of fuel, and umpteen other contributory factors.

The environmental benefits of switching to electric car leasing are well documented, but it can actually save you a whole wad of cash too.

Granted, whether you’re planning on leasing or buying, the initial outlay on an EV can be a little more pricey than standard internal combustion engines (ICE) vehicles, but once you’re on the road, you’ll be laughing.

The lack of a traditional combustion engine in an EV means less maintenance – so less of the aforementioned nasty repair bills.

And, although the exact cost of running your EV will depend on the battery size, which energy tariff you’re on, and whether you charge at home or using public chargers, costs still tend to err on the cheaper side, when compared to petrol or diesel cars.

Anyone who regularly drives in London will reap the benefits of escaping hefty congestion charges. As these are based on emissions, electric vehicles are exempt.

And for those considering electric car business leasing, the Benefit in Kind tax on EVs is much cheaper than on their combustion engine counterparts. It’s currently set at 2%, and from April 2025 will rise by 1% a year until 2028, where it will stay set at 5%.

For comparison, a petrol Vauxhall Mokka sits in the 30% band. For a 20% tax payer, this works out to around £121 monthly, whereas a Vauxhall Mokka Electric is only £13 a month.*

If you’d like to see how much you could save with a business electric car lease, try out our company car tax calculator.*

*Prices correct at time of publication

Nissan Juke

Drive efficiently, save fuel

Drivers of ICE vehicles, don’t fret.

There are still plenty of small changes you can make to your daily driving habits to make your commute cost-efficient. Take heed of these handy tips and see how much you could save:

  • Keep your tyres inflated: making sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure not only prolongs the tread, but improves fuel efficiency too, keeping your petrol bill down.
  • Switch off the air con: and keep it regassed every two years. An air conditioning system with low refrigerant will blow warm air into your vehicle’s cabin, making the system work harder to produce cold air. This, in turn, makes the engine work harder and burns more fuel.
  • Have a clear-out: for some people, their car is a sanctuary in which not a hair is left out of place. For others, their vehicle inevitably collects the detritus of life. Having a spring clean is one of the simplest things you can do to save fuel, getting rid of the additional weight and helping your engine to work more efficiently.
  • Spot check your driving habits: we’re all guilty of slipping into some questionable habits behind the wheel, but it’s worth being aware of how your driving style can hamper your fuel economy. Accelerating gently and maintaining a steady speed can all help conserve your fuel.
Fisker Ocean line-up

Be parking savvy

Nobody likes a parking ticket, so it pays to familiarise yourself with regulations in areas that you park in often.

One of the single most effective ways to make sure that you never fall foul of a traffic warden again is to use a parking app.

Most allow you to select the exact duration you want to park for, and will send you a handy reminder when your session is due to end, while others are open-ended – you simply end the session when you get back to the car.

No more fumbling for the exact amount of cash and no worries that you’re going to run over time? We’re in.

Scrub up

Far from being a purely cosmetic pursuit, keeping your vehicle spick and span can make it safer to drive.

Dirty windows and headlights are cited as the cause of many accidents, especially in wintry, dark conditions. Regularly cleaning your car also allows you to keep tabs on any minor scuffs and dents that could rust if left unnoticed and lead to more expense.

You’ll also be able to note any damage that might fall outside of the fair wear and tear guidelines followed by funders. If you get these sorted before you hand the car back, you could save yourself from having to pay out excess damage charges at the end of your car lease.

That said, the cost of a weekly cruise through your local car wash can soon stack up. If you’ve got the ability, and a spare half-hour at the weekend, cleaning your vehicle yourself might be the way forward in the name of saving cash.

It’ll require a modest initial outlay on cleaning products, but could save you a packet in the long run. 

Here’s a quick rundown of what you might need:

  • A stiff brush for cleaning material seats and getting rid of dust.
  • An aloe-based conditioner for leather interiors.
  • A damp cloth for cleaning around the gear stick.
  • A vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment for cleaning the floor of your car.
  • A hosepipe and specialist car shampoo for the exterior of your vehicle.
  • A glass cleaner made especially for vehicles and a soft, lint-free microfibre cloth.
  • A soft dry cloth to wipe down the exterior after washing – leaving to air dry can leave marks.

Want to find out how much you could save by leasing a car?

Charlotte Birchall

Charlotte Birchall

Charlotte is a marketing specialist and a writing genius. She has a distinct and hilarious way with words and a fine eye for the best topics to cover. In Charlotte's hands we know you'll be both entertained and informed.