For families in many parts of the country, owning a car is seen as an essential for daily life. But with more of us being forced to pay to park, among other things, how much are we really paying for our car running costs and is it worth it?
The fluctuating price of petrol is often in the news, but as a survey of England carried out by car insurance company LV suggests, there are many other costs often not considered when it comes to owning a car.
Not least of these car running costs are residential parking permits, and 27% of councils in England have put the prices up since 2008.
Indeed, as many as 9% of vehicle owners are forced to pay fees in order to park next to their own home, at an average of £96 a year!
However, the highest price paid for parking permits were in Birmingham (£785), Canterbury in Kent (£511) and Poole in Dorset (£440).
For some, then, it may be worth considering alternative methods of transport where possible and comparing the costs - using a bike more regularly, for instance, can save money and also provide a way of getting good, regular exercise.
But even if this isn't possible for you, there are still many ways to save money on your motoring bills and avoid high car running costs.
Even simple regular checks to your car's tyre pressure, turning off the air-conditioning and removing unnecessary items from your boot can all bring considerable savings in the long run.
Waiting for a parking permit
In 2011, parking permits earned councils in England more than £47.8 million, but many still have to wait to be granted a permit in their area.
After a freedom of information request, eight councils told LV= that residents had to wait more than 12 months for one.
One driver in the Mid Devon District Council area had to wait as long as 2,920 days (eight years) for a parking permit, while residents in near Canterbury City Council (2,218 days), Bristol City Council (1,765 days) and Uttlesford District Council in Essex (1,335 days) also all faced long waits.
Declining parking space
On average the amount of space reserved for parking in residential areas has decreased by 9% in the decade from 2001-2011, while the number of cars has increased by 15%.
Vehicles are bigger in size now too - on average increasing 6in in the last ten years to 14ft 1in long - while drivers in England have suffered a drop from just above 32ft to 29ft 5in in the size of parking space near their houses.
Families living in or traveling to Westminster regularly have the smallest area possible for parking at only 14ft 2in per car - a 21% decrease since 2001, according to LV=.
The least amount of space for parking outside the capital is in Harlow in Essex; in Stevenage, Broxbourne and Watford in Hertfordshire; and in Slough in Berkshire.
As a result of such sought-after parking spaces, 11% of motorists admitted to illegal parking close to their home.
Roughly 33% of these people were given fines for their actions at an average of £92 each.
LV= car insurance managing director, John O'Roarke, said: "Motorists are becoming increasingly squeezed when it comes to parking and in some areas the average space available is only a few centimetres longer than the average car.
"When space is particularly tight, drivers must take greater care when parking to avoid damaging their own car or those around them and risking expensive repairs or a claim against them."