Charges You Should Be Aware Of When Owning A Car


Mini Cooper - Car Ownership Charges

It can be exciting when you go to buy a new car. However, it doesn’t matter if you’re a value shopper, methodical shopper, image shopper or safety-conscious shopper, there’s certainly a lot more to making your purchase than just picking the one you like the look of. Obviously, you don’t want to drive a car that doesn’t please your eye, but as more and more charges come into play, you must make an informed choice before signing on the dotted line.

Of course, charges such as insurance and fuel are well known, but do you know the lesser known charges? Here, alongside new Skoda dealers, Lookers, we take a look at charges to be wary of when you own a vehicle.

Low charges with zero emission Nissan Leaf

Ultra-low emission zones

As of 8 April 2019, those who travel in central London will face a tighter exhaust emission standard (ULEZ standards). This simply means your vehicle must meet these standards or face paying a daily charge to travel within that area in order to help improve air quality – one of the most significant issues affecting the health of those living and working in London. If your car, van or motorbike doesn’t meet the standard, you will have to fork out £12.50 per day when you travel in this area.

The charge is being brought in instead of the T-Charge that was launched in 2017 and will always be in operation, no matter what time of day it is, with the affected area to expand by 2021. Nearly all petrol vehicles that have been produced since 2005 already meet the ULEZ standards, but it’s certainly worth checking if yours does if you want to avoid any unexpected future fines.  Introducing this standard is anticipated by London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, to make London have one of the toughest emission standards in the world.

Lower charges for classic cars

Car tax

Car tax, or road tax, can require a massive outlay. You’ll pay a higher rate depending on your vehicle’s CO2 emissions. If your vehicle doesn’t meet the Real Driving Emissions 2 (RDE2) standard for nitrogen oxide emissions, then you’ll pay a higher rate for your diesel car.

Your vehicle can be placed into four bands:

Classic Car Road Tax (vehicles over 40 years old)

Cars registered before 2001

Cars registered between 2001 and 2017

Cars registered after April 2017

Yes, the older the car is can impact on the initial outlay, but it can bring higher tax rates with it. It’s certainly worth checking before you make your purchase.

Toll bridge charges

Toll roads*

Of course, toll road charges won’t apply to everyone – Blue Badge holders for example can be exempt to many – but it’s still important to know which routes have toll roads before you start your journey. Here is a list of the UK’s toll roads and bridges and how much they cost (all costs depend on your choice of vehicle):

M6: £2 – £11.50

Dartford Crossing: Free – £6

Severn Bridges M4 and M4 Westbound: £5.60 – £16.70

Bridges and tunnels on A roads: Free – £8

Mersey Tunnels – Queensway and Kingsway: £1 – £7.20

Humber Bridge: Free – £12

Tyne Tunnels: Free – £3.40

Tamar Bridge: Free – £16.40

Dunham Bridge: Free – £1

Cleddau Bridge: 35p – £1.50

Itchen Bridge: Free – £25

Some minor roads may also carry a cost to cross.

Charges for London Congestion Zone

Congestion charges*

Typically, these charges are in very busy city centres. In London, the Congestion Charge is £11.50 per day if you aren’t registered with Auto Pay. This cost is in play between 07:00 and 18:00 Monday to Friday.  When you add in the ULEZ charge, this can be quite costly!

Elsewhere, in the north of England, Durham has also introduced a road user charge zone. This was the first of its kind in the UK and, although it’s not quite as extreme as its London equivalent. Road users in the North East city must pay £2 if they are travelling in certain zones between 10:00 and 16:00 Monday to Saturday. It’s important to pay this as failure to do so by 18:00 on the day you use the road may result in a £50 penalty charge notice.

In some cases, the public have rejected such methods, with Manchester and Edinburgh among those whose proposed congestion charges failed to come into fruition.

It’s clear that cars can be an expensive option, but for many they are a necessity. With the likes of carpooling and public transport also being an option, be sure you choose a car that is best-suited to your needs and weigh up all the charges you may be faced with.

*figures collated in August 2018

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