Drivers warned of expensive costs this year from Clean Air Zones

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Britons are starting 2023 with a number of rising prices relating to their motoring, in addition to the struggle of the cost of living crisis. Experts are now warning that these costs could have a significant impact on drivers, but they could avoid these rises by altering their habits.

Fuel duty hike

Petrol prices peaked at £1.91 in July, while diesel drivers were facing average costs just short of £2 per litre in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While prices are falling now, with petrol down to 148p and diesel at 169p, there are fears of a rise in fuel duty which could force prices up again.

In November, the Office of Budget Responsibility forecast a hike in fuel duty worth 12p a litre in the March Budget, the first hike since 2011. 

The Office is funded by the Treasury, but Chancellor Jeremy Hunt soon told reporters that this was not yet Government policy, and no decisions had been made.

That means this 12p hike – worth about £6.60 for a 55-litre tank of fuel – is not definite, but is far from off the table, as the Government are scrambling to find savings.

While the 12p hike is not certain, the Government’s 5p reduction in fuel duty is unlikely to stick around forever.

Drivers looking to save on fuel costs should avoid certain dangerous fuel-saving methods like hypermiling, according to Nextbase.

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Car insurance

Motorists saw car insurance prices rise by 14 percent over the last year, with the average premium hitting £586.

That rise came as people returned to the roads after the pandemic, lifting the overall rate of payouts and thus premiums. 

As other costs rise across the board, that will mean the cost of every claim will get larger too – so premiums will go up with them. 

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This is especially the case given how complex cars are these days, and the long wait times to get parts like semiconductors.

Bryn Brooker, head of road safety at Nextbase, added: “Insurance hikes don’t impact everyone equally. Male drivers pay on average more than female ones. Older and younger drivers pay more than middle-aged ones. 

“These costs are all based on huge amounts of data – and don’t take into account how good your actual driving is at all.

“Luckily there is a way to seriously reduce this cost. A dash cam for as little as £59 will show insurers you’re happy to have your driving inspected in the case of a crash – our research suggests this lowers the costs of premiums by about 30 percent, meaning you make back the cost of the dash cam pretty fast.”

Clean Air Zones

Low Emission Zones and Clean Air Zones are popping up around the country as the Government puts pressure on local authorities to slash pollution rates.

The largest one planned for 2023 is the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone, which will cover all boroughs on August 29.

According to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, four of five cars are clean enough to escape a penalty, with some drivers being eligible for the £110million scrappage scheme.

London isn’t alone in strengthening its low emission zone, with Glasgow seeing changes later this year. Glasgow’s existing zone is set to be strengthened, meaning visiting drivers will face a £60 fine if their vehicles do not meet the standard. 

Sheffield is introducing a new zone from February 27 – but this will not immediately cover private drivers.

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