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Reducing costs of driving in the UK pt 1

It is a very expensive business driving in the UK. Most of the expense though can be put down to the government. Taxes on owning a vehicle, taxes called licensing, taxes on fuel and taxes on the taxes. I’m not joking.

In a self sufficiency situation there is not a lot you can do about this. You only really have the option to reduce your expenditure. You can get a smaller vehicle, do without one entirely, try alternative fuels or additives or reducing your consumption.

I would guess that most of us already have vehicles that suit our requirements. We would all like an Aston Martin but reality means we have a more modest vehicle. So we buy one we can take the family in, that meets our requirements for daily use and is affordable.

If not then you should really look at what you want from your vehicle. What are your requirements for a vehicle? There is so much to consider, 4×4 for out in the country and in the winter, people carrier due to how many people you transport on a regular basis, mini van because of the amount of goods you transport on a regular basis. Never mind the choice between diesel, petrol, LPG and soon Electric. Be realistic there are many vehicles that will fill your needs. Just make sure your choice has readily available spares, is relatively cheap to maintain and is solid and trustworthy. It is the overall package you are looking for so do not expect to find something that is best in all areas. Look around, find one that suits your specific requirements.

Bear in mind that changing your vehicle is an expensive business in its own right plus, if you buy second hand, you do not always now that what you end up with is not going to work out more expensive in the long run. So cutting your losses and sticking with what you have may work out to be a viable solution.

In the UK people have played with alternative fuels for a while now but Diesel and Petrol are still way out in front by a long way. You can get LPG in specialist fuel stations and, a few, normal fuel stations but not that many. The conversion kits are expensive but if you do enough miles then it pays for itself. Cooking oil is growing rapidly at the moment, kits are available to convert the waste oil from fast food restaurants to bio fuel and many people are doing this as a garage type project. Although there are firms doing this on a larger scale. Personally, I believe that as soon as LPG or the bio fuel starts to impact on the tax take then changes will be made. LPG and bio fuels will be brought into line with diesel and petrol and legislation put in place to limit the number of garage bio fuel converters. Already cooking oil which was a waste product and gratefully given away for free is now being sold by fast food restaurants. The prices of cooking oils themselves have increased dramatically and now are more expensive than petrol. Personally, I’m sticking with diesel because it will be available for some time, if it does start to be restricted or a survival situation occurs then most diesel engines can be converted to run on cooking oil. Older diesel engines anyway. Always check if you think you will need this option. Having a diesel that saves 5mpg might make it reliant on highly refined diesel fuel. These engines have already had issues with garage supplied diesel fuels that have bio fuels added.

Additives are another new area that has sprung up recently. They are either added to your fuel via the fuel tank or are added into the fuel system as part of the engine mixing system. Bio fuels are a common one, as mentioned, it is already added to most diesel fuel at the forecourt. Some of these additives claim over 20% fuel economy savings. I’m not and expert but I’ve looking at some of these and only found one I thought was worth the time and effort, a hydrogen system, currently being trialled on a close friend’s car. Which he claims is saving him 20% on his fuel consumption.

Finally, reducing consumption. Usually, the first place we start looking because it is the easiest to do, doesn’t require any expense and you get instant feedback.

Walk where you can.
Bike where you can.
Motorbike where you can and consider Bus or public transport.
Use the car where you can and consider Bus or public transport.
Use the truck/van and consider Bus or public transport.

Simply, start at the top, if you can’t use this method to do what you need then move to the next one until you find one you can. Most of us just jump straight into the car and it has become a habit.

2 comments to Reducing costs of driving in the UK pt 1

  • flashbaztard

    ride a push bike? i was forced to once whilst waiting for a car to be delivered [2 weeks]
    points against are
    too many hills…bad weather…unsafe roads…unsafe streets[no protection from the bad guys]
    motor bike? i thought the idea was to survive! i am forever cleaning bits of biker out of my car tyre treads!
    public transport? full of weiredo’s,..germs..and the odd terrorist . and you rarely get one going where you want to go. i used a bus once.never again!
    no, you need a vehicle and i think you have a choice of 2 land rover discovery or smiley transit [diesels]
    both need to be before 2000 to eliminate any computer modules [emp] both do 30+mpg .both are easy to fix and have a endless supply of[very cheap] spare parts and both are built like tanks. japanese 4×4,are too complicated, to expensive to fix,and full of computers. i have owned many japs, shoguns, patrols ect
    you need the space these things can carry. they dont attract unwanted attention,they can run straight on cooking oil with no modification [in the event of teotwawki.they will run on any oil,
    heating,red,kerosene,atf,engine oil ,parrafin.ect
    both are big enough to sleep in and prices start at a modest £500 [my insurance is around £150 each]
    great site by the way be reading survivalblog for years and about time we had a uk version as our survival will be different to the usa, i hope to contribute articles in future.

  • Skean Dhude


    I was making suggestions for options. It has been years since I was on a motor bike myself. Things have changed a lot since then. Everything seems safer if you just keep a bit of common sense, sadly lacking in half the UK population.

    I agree with your, err, quick review of the state of UK transport.

    The Land Rover Discovery series was one of the vehicles I was thinking of as well as the older type Land Rover itself. For all the reasons you say. I had not thought of the good old transit van although your comments make sense.

    I’m glad your first opinion is positive. Let’s hope that it doesn’t stagnate and fall by the wayside. I think we need to help each other.

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