Driving is the most common mode of transport in the UK for households, with just over two-thirds of the British population driving to work on a regular basis. This nationwide dependency on driving and automotive infrastructure has resulted in unavoidable costs for those two-thirds of the population, relating to the use and upkeep of their vehicle.
In a cost-of-living crisis, these costs are getting higher, and harder to justify too. Alternative modes of transport are becoming more popular as a result, with more and more people taking up cycling to mitigate their driving costs. But where are the costs to be saved when it comes to cycling and driving?
Fuel and Transport Costs
The primary cost associated with driving is that of fuel. Petrol and diesel are costly resources and variable to boot; the average cost of fuelling a car has increased considerably in recent months, as instability in the oil industry has created stark increases in price-per-barrel.
Electric vehicles are considered the next evolution of powered transport and currently offer fuel costs roughly half that of conventional fossil-fuelled vehicles. In contrast, though, cycling costs precisely nothing in fuel costs – unless, of course, you include the cost of fuelling yourself.
Of course, the costs associated with driving are not limited to fuel. Drivers must also take out insurance in order to drive on UK roads legally – a regular cost which can mount over time. Switching to cycling entirely would negate the need for this large monthly expense, saving significant funds on ancillary transport costs.
However, many households still rely on vehicles for longer trips, let alone the carriage of larger and bulkier materials. In such cases where car ownership is still a necessity, temporary car insurance coverage can enable you to drive without the punishing cost of an annual insurance policy.
Maintenance and Repairs
Cars are complex machines, with intricate mechanisms that require consistent upkeep and attention. This is true from the engine to the braking systems, and from annual MOTs to regular service check-ups. Unless you learn to maintain your own car, labour costs relating to car maintenance can be prohibitive – and higher for older, cheaper-to-buy used cars.
Bicycles also need regular maintenance and repairs, but these repairs are far cheaper to undertake – and often far simpler to fix at home. In replacing driving with cycling, service costs can be practically nullified. For those that subsidise their driving with cycling, though, a different form of benefit emerges. Reduced driving means reduced wear and strain on your car, resulting in reduced maintenance costs across the board.
Health and Healthcare
Finally, it would be impossible to talk about shifting to cycling without addressing the health differences between driving and cycling. This is because health and healthcare bring with them their own costs, which are often forgotten when weighing up cost benefits.
Cycling is a healthier mode of transport than driving, promoting better cardiovascular health than the sedentary lifestyle that driving can promote. This can be life-extending, but more importantly, quality-of-life-improving; with a fitter body and healthier mind, costs associated with healthcare issues like obesity and skeletomuscular disorder are mitigated.