It’s been said a number of times that living in London is expensive and driving is a nightmare. If you do have a car though, and the wherewithal to brave the traffic, there are a number of extra costs you’ll have to factor into your budget. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways that you can save money if you’ve got your London smarts about you.
If you’re considering hiring a car when moving here, you should be aware that one really isn’t necessary. The public transport system is efficient and offers a great value for the price. It is, however, nice if you want to get out of your London apartment every now and again to see a bit of the countryside that England is so famous for.
The costs of owning a car in London:
- Congestion Charge: If you are going to drive in the city, you’ll have to cough up at least £9 for each day that you drive here. This fee can be paid online from the comfort of your flat before midnight on the day before you travel. TfL (Transport for London) has a great website where you can make arrangements to pay online and pay in advance for up to 90 days.
- Car Tax: You will additionally be charged a tax depending on the type of car that you own. If you have a newer model electric car or an eco-friendly car, the rate is substantially less than the £155 annual fee for older cars.
- MOT and Insurance: BEFORE you can get around to paying car tax, your vehicle has to have passed a roadworthy test (MOT) and be fully insured. If you have insufficient insurance or an overdue MOT, you will not be allowed to pay your car tax and therefore not able to drive it. Remember too that an MOT test is required every year for vehicles older than three years.
Once you’ve figured out how to keep your car on the road while you’re here, you’ll need to find out how to park it, and that is a topic for another day altogether.