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Van Running Costs

Use our detailed breakdown of how much your van’s running costs could be so that you can pre-plan and budget for your van costs accordingly.

Tom Roberts

Words by: Tom Roberts

Published on 13 February 2024 | 0 min read

Buying a van takes a lot of planning and budgeting for the costs ahead. From deciding whether to get a new or a used van, planning how much money to set aside for it, to finding the best insurance for the van – there are a lot of decisions to be made.
But don’t worry because we are here to help you with your van-buying journey with our detailed breakdown of all the running costs you need to account for. The first thing is the cost of your van. The cost will depend on whether the van is new or secondhand, how big the van is, and whether the van is a manual or automatic transmission.

Financing your van

Once you know which van you are in the market for, the next step will be to decide how you are going to pay for it.
If you want to buy the van outright, you will have to make a lump sum payment for the van. If you do not want to spend thousands of pounds all at once, you can make monthly payments over a set period by leasing the van, buying it on a hire purchase (HP) agreement, or on personal contract purchase (PCP) agreement. To learn more about how to buy a car on finance, head to our Van Finance guide.

Insuring your van

Once you have acquired the van, you need to insure it so that you can drive the van. If you fail to insure your van, you can get a fine of £300 and six penalty points on your licence.
Your insurance premium for the van will depend on several factors. Van insurance for personal-use vans is usually lower than vans used for commercial purposes. The insurance company will also check things like your age, your driving history, the crime rate in the area you live in and where you park your van. Vans parked in a garage will have a lower insurance premium as compared to vans parked on the street as they have a higher chance of being targeted by thieves or getting hit by another vehicle. It is best to shop around when looking for van insurance. You can get an insurance quote for your van on Auto Trader. Related: Van insurance explained

Taxing your van

It is a legal requirement to tax your van before you start driving it.
Tax rates vary for cars and vans, and the van’s tax rate also depends on whether it is a personal-use van or a commercial-use. For personal-use vans, your tax rate depends upon the year the van was registered and the engine size. If you are using the van for commercial purposes, you will have to pay the Van Benefit Charge, also known as benefit-in-kind tax. The Van Benefit Charge for 2023/24 is set at £3,960 – you only pay a part of this charge depending on how much percentage of tax you are supposed to pay. Check out our full breakdown of 2023/24 van tax rates to find out how much tax you will have to pay. In case you have bought a used van, and you are unsure about when to pay the tax, you can check online on

MOT, servicing and maintaining your van

Despite the difference in size, the MOT and servicing costs for cars and vans are similar.
You need to get your van’s MOT certificate renewed every year after the van’s three years old. If you have bought or leased a brand-new van, you will not have to worry about MOTs for the first three years of the vehicle’s life, but if the van is used it will need an MOT every year and may even be due an MOT soon after you acquire it. You can check when your van’s MOT is due on

Fuel usage for your van

Your cost for refuelling your van will depend on several factors, starting with whether it is a diesel, petrol or an electric van.
Next, your fuel costs will depend on how many miles you do. If you use your van for short-distance driving, then you will not need to refuel as often as compared to covering long distances in your van. You should also check the van’s driver manual as it will tell you what its official miles per gallon (mpg) and battery charge capacity figures are. Some older vans can be less fuel efficient so you may use more fuel while covering the same amount of distance as compared to a newer van. Knowing exactly how much you pay for your journey can help you budget accordingly - you can calculate your fuel costs per mile with the help of our guide here. How you drive affects your van’s fuel economy too. If you try to constantly speed in your van, the chances are you are using more fuel than necessary. Here are some of our tips on how to drive fuel-efficiently You should also keep your van’s tyre pressure in check as tyres that are not inflated properly consume more fuel to move the van.

Driving on tolls roads and through clean air zone or ULEZ

Tolls road charges are higher for vans as compared to cars, for example when using the Dartford Crossing, cars pay £2.50 while vans pay £3. You can find exactly how much you will have to pay when using different toll roads on
If you drive through a Clean Air Zone, Low Emission Zone, or London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone, your van may be subject to an emissions charge. However, if your van complies with the emission standards of the area, then you can avoid the extra charges.

Selling or giving back the van

If you are looking to upgrade to a newer van, or you simply want to sell the current one, you will have to advertise and sell your van. On Auto Trader, you can sell your van starting from just £9.95. you can also part-exchange your old van for a new one. If you are ready to sell your van, here are some of our top tips to help you sell quickly.
If you got your current van on a lease deal, you do not have to worry about disposing off the van. At the end of your leasing contract, all you must do is return the van to the lease provider. You can also look at the latest van leasing deals and choose to upgrade to a new van of your choice if you wish.

Tips to help you reduce van running costs

1. Investing in an electric van can help reduce the amount you spend on re-fuelling and when driving through ULEZ, clean air zones or through congestion zones.
2. Leasing a van can reduce the amount you pay up-front. With leasing, you can spread the cost of buying a van over a period so that you do not have to spend all your savings at once. 3. If you drive your van for commercial purposes, you can claim back VAT if your business is VAT registered. 4. Invest in a security lock for your van to keep your van safe and secure from thieves. This can also help give your insurance provider more confidence in your van and where it is parked. Related: Best vans under £10,000

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