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A low purchase price doesn’t necessarily mean that you have found a cheap car to run. Help yourself out; factor in the other costs of car ownership before you buy what seems like a great deal. So, let’s look at some good options out there right now.
Bristol Street Motors

The Cheapest Cars to Run in 2024

The Cheapest Cars to Run in 2024

A low purchase price doesn’t necessarily mean that you have found a cheap car to run. Help yourself out; factor in the other costs of car ownership before you buy what seems like a great deal.

So, let’s look at some good options out there right now.


What type of car is the cheapest to run?

You could buy a great car for a great price and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. But if you can’t afford to run and maintain it, then it defeats the purpose of the steal of a price you bought it for. Cheap cars to run and insure depend on more than simply their price tag in the window.

Electric cars are generally cheapest to run, thanks to a few factors. The first and most obvious being zero road tax. This makes electric cars cheap to run and tax. The second reason is electric cars have fewer moving parts (an electric motor instead of an engine for instance). This means there are less parts to break over time. Your maintenance and servicing costs should feel the benefit of this. The third and last reason is reducing fuel costs.

Charging your electric car is generally a lot cheaper than petrol or diesel. Especially if you charge smart, overnight at home for example, rather than fast charging on the go.

Hybrid cars also benefit from the reduction in fuel costs. The electric motor gives you bonus miles you wouldn’t have managed with a petrol or diesel car.


If you’re thinking of taxing a petrol car, anything before 2001 is taxed based on engine size. Whereas after 2001 it is based on emissions. So, if ever there was an incentive to go green for your next car, this would be it.

Insurance is a factor whichever type of car you choose. And that depends on so many factors. Where you live, whether your car is front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, how long you’ve had your driving licence and if you have any penalty points.


Generally, cheap cars to run and insure are in the simple hatchback class. Cars like the Hyundai i10, Volkswagen Polo, Nissan Micra used, SEAT Ibiza and Ford Fiesta.


Which is the best car for a low budget?

The steadfast Dacia Sandero far and away wins the title. And don't worry, the interior quality has improved since its debut. It’s no BMW or Mazda interior but it is comfortable and functional, without that premium price tag.

Specifically, the 1.0-litre TCE Bi-Fuel five-door version in the Essential trim is the one to go for. Bi-Fuel meaning that it runs on both petrol and liquified petroleum gas, also known as LPG. This was a popular cheap fuelling option before electric cars began taking off. The use-case for it is dwindling, however, as electric cars ramp up. Which is worth remembering when considering the Sandero.

The economical hatchback gives 98bhp, plenty enough to get away at traffic lights and roundabouts. Plus, the six-speed gearbox is comfortable enough to handle motorway cruises. Giving you up to 575 miles in a 50-litre tank of fuel will get you well away on long journeys. Or simply sail through your week’s commute. With a decent luggage capacity of 328 litres, it lines itself up to be a great cheap family car to run.

Insurance is subjective depending on the individual, but the Sandero does give you a decent head start. Sat in insurance group 11 you can be comfortable that it will be a reasonable option - from the car’s point of view at least.

An added perk, if you needed one, there’s no road tax to pay for this engine type of the Dacia Sandero.



Which is the most economical small car to run?

Toyota Aygo X is a great option for an economical small car to run. There’s only one engine choice; the 1.0-litre petrol engine. 1.0-litre petrols have been popular recently as a bridge to more sustainable options. They’re not as juicy as anything more powerful, but they’re nippy enough for most people. With the Aygo X you can achieve up to 58.9mpg.

Not to mention the low fuel costs that come with that high mpg.


Although if you’re pushing the boundaries on the definition of a small car then the Citroen Ami is the one to beat. The small quadricycle packs in everything you get in a normal car, just in a tiny package. We’ve been using smart cars for years – it's only a small leap to the Ami!


What car is best on fuel?

Fuel economy is a fine art with much of it based on you, the driver. Perhaps a car is said to get in the high fifties for miles per gallon and you find that you’re getting in the low forties. So, change your driving style before you condemn it. Drive your car gently - no matter the road rage.

For more information on the most economical cars, check out our blog Most Fuel-Efficient Cars to Drive in 2024.


Shop used cars with Bristol Street Motors

If the Dacia Sandero or Toyota Aygo X have caught your attention, come and browse these and thousands more used cars with us.

Our friendly team can help you with any questions you may have. Give us a call or book an appointment at your local dealership today.