So how much does running a car actually cost? Depressingly, it’s probably more than you think.

A new study estimates that the cost of owning and running a car has risen by around 7.2% in just 1 year. Sainsbury’s Bank says that the average annual cost - excluding interest repayments on hire-purchase or bank loans used to pay for a vehicle - is now £2202. The £15 hike, the research suggests, is due to rising fuel costs, with a litre of petrol costing around 11% more this year than it did in September 2005.

A spokesman said: “The cost of motoring has been rising steadily but you can keep this in check. For example, shopping around for car insurance and your fuel could make a real difference to your motoring bill at the end of the year”.

“However, it is not only the costs associated with running a car that motorists need to tackle but also the price they pay for them. Between March and August 2006, some 394,000 people said that they planned to buy a brand new car but would not haggle over the price. You can save over £1300 on the price of a brand new car by haggling, which means these people could have collectively lost out on more than £512 million.”