Oct 162018
 

Warranty Direct used the latest data from GlobalPetrolPrices to compare different global fuel costs and calculate how far you would travel on a series of iconic car journeys around the world on twenty pounds’ worth of petrol.

As announced earlier in July, these are the top five most expensive and cheapest petrol rates around the world:

Bottom 5 least expensive countries Cost per litre ($) Top 5 most expensive countries Cost per litre ($)
Venezuela 0.01 Hong Kong 2.20
Iran 0.29 Norway 2.08
Sudan 0.34 Iceland 1.98
Kuwait 0.35 Netherlands 1.95
Algeria 0.35 Greece 1.94

While not in the top five most expensive countries, it’s still bad news for the UK. Our rates came in the bottom 15% of the study (129th) with petrol costing $1.71 per litre.

As a result, drivers taking on one of the country’s most famous routes – Land’s End to John o’ Groats – using UK fuel rates, wouldn’t even make it a fifth of the journey (16%) on a £20 tank of fuel. The total cost of the journey would cost £122 to complete.

US and UK global petrol rates rankings, compared with the rest of the world:

Global Ranking Country Cost per litre ($)
36 United States 0.85
129 United Kingdom 1.71

Comparatively, US drivers taking the route from Cornwall to Scotland could complete the journey on just £61 worth of fuel, if using the US fuel rate ($0.85 per litre).

The USA performed well in the study, with petrol prices appearing in the top quarter cheapest in the world (36th). US drivers pay less than a quarter of the fuel tax their UK counterparts pay, meaning they benefit from much lower prices.

US drivers could even drive the famous US Route 50 (3,017 miles) on just £205 worth of fuel. To put this into perspective, driving the same route on UK petrol prices would cost more than double (£422).

Hong Kong posts the highest global fuel prices, with a litre of petrol costing $2.20, which is over 200 times as much as it costs in Venezuela (the cheapest country). This means a driver from Hong Kong would need to spend £157 to make the 874-mile journey from Land’s End to John o’ Groats.

European countries dominate the top 5 most expensive petrol prices, with Norway, Iceland the Netherlands and Greece taking spots 2-5 respectively.

Norway posts the second most expensive fuel prices in the world – $2.08 per litre – with high tax levies to blame for Europe’s extreme petrol prices. In fact, £20 would only enable Norwegian drivers to complete 13% of the Land’s End to John o’ Groats route.

Native drivers taking on an equivalent iconic route in Norway – Trondheim to Sandefjord – would also only make it 39% of the distance on £20 of fuel.

Venezuela keeps fuel prices drastically low due to government regulation, meaning prices haven’t changed since 1997.

Such low rates could see you complete the Land’s End to John o’ Groats journey on just 72p and the longest drivable distance on Earth (from Sagres, Portugal to Khasan, Russia) on just £10 worth of fuel, and still have over a quarter of a tank left.

The contrast between the cheapest and most expensive countries is further emphasised when you consider a trip to the moon. On £1,000 worth of fuel, a driver from Hong Kong would only make it 2% of the way to the moon, whereas a Venezuelan driver would make 511% of the journey.

Warranty Direct also completed an analysis of several other well-known routes including; the Karakoram Highway, the longest drivable distance on Earth and Argentina’s Ruta.

See how other countries compared here (link to infographic)

Simon Ackers, CEO at Warranty Direct commented on the findings:

“The results of our latest data analysis are really interesting and the driving routes help to visualise the size of the gap in fuel prices across the world. Although most people wouldn’t drive these journeys in one go, they go to show how much the price gap can add up”.

Oct 152018
 

Autonomous Vehicles
The ‘future’ is finally here as self-driving cars aren’t a ‘what if?’ but rather a ‘why not’? Just a few years ago it was largely uncharted territory but now, every major car manufacturer is pursuing the technology and some autonomous vehicles are already on the road in Paris, Singapore and several states in the US.

What Car Manufacturers Are Involved?

GM tops the list with Daimler-Bosch (the parent company of Mercedes-Benz), Ford, Volkswagen and BMW not far behind. What’s more, whole manufacturers are working together, with Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi having formed an alliance while Volvo, Autoliv, Ericsson and Zenuity have formed a separate alliance.

With GM having promised the release of driverless taxis in large cities by 2019, it’s about time we all figured out how they work.

How Do Self-Driving Cars Work?

In short: self-driving cars create and maintain an internal map of their surroundings using lasers, sensors, radars and even sonar. Every system is different and technologies (unsurprisingly) continue to evolve. The ‘map’ is then continually processed by the cars software and a path is plotted. The car is able to accelerate, brake and steer through actuators while algorithms, codes and predictive modelling help the car follow the rules of the road and avoid hitting people and other objects.

Machine Learning and AI

The most important feature of these man-less machines is Machine Learning. This AI (artificial intelligence) tool trains computers to detect pedestrians and differentiate between a bicycle and a motorcycle. Because it’s impossible to write a rule (those algorithms we talked about above) for every situation in this complex world, the cars have to be trained to learn and navigate on their own.

The Future

There are currently several levels of autonomy and researchers have created a scale from 0-5.

Most of us are currently driving either a Level 0 or a Level 1, with Level 0 being a car completely controlled by the human and Level 1 being a car that has features like cruise control. Level 2 offers several systems, like automatic acceleration and braking, but it still requires a human for operation. Moving up to Level 3, the car can – for all intents and purposes – drive on its own, but a human can be alerted to take over under certain circumstances. Level 4 is a fully autonomous car in most situations while Level 5 is fully autonomous and self-drives in every situation.

With Level 5’s driving around several cities in the world on their own, we should expect to see them in the UK sooner than any of us could have expected.

 

Oct 122018
 

Buying A Used CarWhen buying a car, there’s a lot to consider. When buying a used car, there’s even more to consider. It’s obvious that you’ll want to avoid a used car that’s been badly damaged, illegally altered, or that is prone to break downs…but can you know for sure that you’re making the right choice?

Follow these 10 tips to make sure you pick the right second-hand car at the right price.

10. Look for a car that’s around three years old

New cars start losing their value the moment they’re driven off the lot. By the end of the first year, most are down 40 percent in value. That means that the original owner has taken that financial hit and you won’t have to. What’s more, the market for used cars that are three years old is massive. Why? Many cars are bought on finance which, after 36 months, runs out.

  1. Do your research on car insurance and car tax

Many people mistakenly think that the price of the car itself is the only cost involved in getting on the road. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. A relatively inexpensive second-hand car could incur massive bills over time. For example, sporty cars often come with higher insurance premiums. For car tax, you’ll have to consider its fuel type, engine type and CO2 emissions. Make sure you get quotes before signing anything.

  1. Review the car’s history

If the owner can’t offer up garage bills, MOT certificates and service records, that should raise alarm bells. If you do have access to this paperwork, look over it carefully. Look for consistent problems and consider, given how old the car is, what maintenance work will be needed soon.

  1. Look at the mileage

The mileage will give you insights into the value at purchase vs. sale and – perhaps more importantly – the potential costs of servicing and maintenance. Certain car parts need to be serviced or replaced after so many miles and many of these parts come with a hefty price tag. If you notice that a part hasn’t been replaced or serviced at the recommended interval, it’s probably not a good idea to buy.

  1.  Check the exterior and interior

This should go without saying but when we say ‘check’ we mean really look. It’s best to do this during the day when it isn’t raining or foggy. Look at the car from all angles, taking special care to look for dents, mismatched colours and misaligned panels. This would indicate that there has been work done.

While ideally the interior would be spotless, seats and carpets are easy enough to clean or have cleaned.

  1. Take it for a spin

You should never buy a car before test driving it. Make sure it starts easily and, while driving, make sure it handles well and performs how you would expect. A grinding sound coming from the brakes is a bad sign and a rumbling or smoking engine indicates a serious problem. It’s also a good idea to check that all of the features inside work. Flip on the radio, listen to the speakers, see if the air conditioning cools effectively. Also consider if you feel comfortable driving the car. Does it go faster than you expected? Does the steering wheel pull to one side?

  1.  Make sure the seller has a V5C document

This document shows the registered keeper, not the legal owner. Of course, the registered keeper should be the one selling you the car. If it isn’t, or if the seller isn’t willing to show you the V5C, you should walk away.

  1. If you think it’s too good to be true, it probably is

Unfortunately, you can encounter a lot of scams when buying a used car. Clocking, cloning and cut-and-shuts are worst case scenarios, but they could still happen. The best way to avoid a scam is by doing research, carefully inspecting the car, and trusting your gut. It’s better to pay more for a car that has all the relevant paperwork than less for a car with none.

  1.  Make sure it ticks all the boxes

What are your essential requirements? Does there need to be room for the whole family? Does it need to fit in a particularly small space? Do you need a large boot? Were you hoping for something eco-friendly? Make sure you get what you came to get and don’t settle on something else for an attractive price or because you feel pressured.

  1. Get a receipt

Once you’ve made your decision, make sure you and the seller agree exactly what is included in the price and get a receipt that includes the vehicle details, terms of the deal, your name and the seller’s name, and the date.

With that, congratulations on your new (used) car! Lastly, it’s always wise to cover your car in the event of unexpected vehicle failure, and you can do that with an extended warranty from Warranty Direct! Why not get a quote to see how we can help you?

Policies underwritten by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Arranged and administered by Warranty Direct. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority