How much does it cost to own a car? Because I’m a massive nerd, and recorded everything I spent in a spreadsheet over seven years, I can tell you how much it cost me.
I bought my car, a 13 registration Škoda Citigo, on 28 November 2015, making it about two and a half years old at the time. I sold it today, on 29 November 2022, so I owned it for seven years and one day.
I bought it for reasons that seemed sensible at the time, but which made less and less sense as time has gone on, and I’ve hardly used it in the past two years. I don’t really like cars, and I’ve felt very conflicted about owning one.
Considering how complex cars are, it was extraordinarily reliable. The only problem I ever had was a flat battery from not driving it enough. It was the “Elegance” trim level, so it was reasonably well appointed. It had cruise control (useful) and heated seats (which I never used).
In total, I drove 7,486 miles, or 12,048 km (about as far as from London to Honolulu), using 654 L of fuel and emitting around 1.4 t of CO2 (approximately the same emissions as an economy class flight from London to Tokyo.)
The longest journey I took the car on was from London to Gleann Cholm Cille in County Donegal and back again, via the Liverpool to Belfast ferry.
It was very efficient for a petrol car, using 5.17 L per 100 km, or 55 mpg (Imperial). That’s about 10p per mile in fuel. However, including all running costs and depreciation, it works out to about 72p per mile. Because the car was in the most efficient category when new, it benefited from a VED rate of zero. I still had to go onto the website and pay £0 every year, though!
I paid £4,898 when I bought the car, and I sold it for £3,541, or 72% of the purchase price.
Here are how the costs of ownership break down over seven years:
Even for a cheap-to-insure car with no claims, insurance was the biggest running cost.
Owning the car for seven years and one day cost me £5,362, or about £766 per year. That would pay for a lot of train journeys, and that’s what I intend to be spending my money on in future.