The annual cost of running a new car is down by 5% compared to last year, a motoring index has found.
The RAC index found that running costs are actually more expensive for second-hand vehicles than new cars, mainly because of the high amount of maintenance needed for older cars.
A used car costs around £2,744 a year, compared to the £2,219 a year for newer models, the research shows.
An RAC study found that most motorists believe the cost of running a car has risen, but with petrol prices falling 10% and diesel falling 14% the cost has actually dropped.
RAC motoring strategist Adrian Tink said: "It's been a tough year for motorists, and while it's good news that the costs of running a car have slightly dropped in the past 12 months, it probably won't feel like it at a time when the family budget is being squeezed from all sides."
Despite the falling cost of running a car, tough economic times have led to some 45% of people making changes to their car ownership habits in 2009, with a fifth of these getting rid of their second car.
And two in three people who have made changes to vehicle ownership will not revert back once the economy revives.
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