Drivers on road to ruin as car costs spiral

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COSTS of owning a car are spiralling.

Despite dealers offering some of the best bang for your buck we've ever seen on new cars, rising petrol prices, tyres, depreciation and other expenses are getting heavier on the pocket.

Phasing out of LPG rebates, rising costs associated with owning a diesel vehicle and the upfront costs of an electric car have made the standard unleaded models more attractive for those wanting to save coin.

The annual RACQ vehicle running costs survey revealed the Suzuki Alto is the cheapest car to run for the third consecutive year.

According to the automotive club, the only way to save is take a "no-frills approach".

The RACQ's Steve Spalding said drivers needed to consider getting back to basics, with those who opt for prestige and size costing themselves thousands.

"Our results show the cost of owning and operating a car has become less affordable across all classes. If you are serious about cutting back - downsizing is the best way to see real savings," Mr Spalding said.

According to the survey, which took into consideration fuel consumption, servicing, replacement tyres, loan interest and depreciation, the cost of running an Alto increased $6 a week to $119.95.

The most expensive car again was the V8 Nissan

Patrol four-wheel drive, which costs $413.24 a week to run - last year it was $402.

This year's investigation sampled 108 cars and took

into consideration fuel consumption, servicing, replacement tyres, loan interest and depreciation.

Two of Australia's most popular cars the Mazda3 Neo 2.0-litre costs $166.01 while the Toyota Corolla Ascent 1.8-litre is $169.01.

It remains much cheaper to drive a standard petrol-power vehicle than the

hybrids, or an all-electric car.

Three electric vehicles on the market all have hefty purchase prices, equating to costs of more than $250 a week.

Topics:  driving motoring

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