Ride out the fuel crisis with a SORN!

woman inside a bus in london

Many of us have questioned how many of our car journeys have really been necessary during the fuel crisis. Petrol and diesel shortages have forced us to at least consider walking, cycling or public transport. 

It’s not just the scarcity of fuel that has been the problem. Fuel prices are close to all-time highs. If using your car is not essential, making a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) could be a useful way to avoid the stress and expense of the fuel crisis. 


Why a SORN can help you save money during the fuel crisis

You may not be ready to get rid of your car just yet. But a SORN allows you to experiment with managing without it and save money at the same time. 

A SORN means you can keep your car off the road without paying tax or insurance, so you can save money on more than just fuel. You might even get a partial tax and insurance refund if you paid upfront for them.

A two-car household making fewer separate journeys could make a SORN for just one vehicle during the fuel crisis. They would then only have one tank of fuel to worry about. 

Some car owners may still prefer to insure against theft or damage while their vehicle is off the road.

How to make a SORN

It’s free to make a SORN. There are some websites that will arrange it for you for a fee, but this is completely unnecessary. The process is quite simple:

  1. Establish a place to keep your vehicle off the road. This could be a garage, or off-street parking, for example on a driveway or on private land. If there is nowhere to keep the car on your own property, try someone else’s, if they agree. 
  2. Find your vehicle log book, or V11 tax reminder.
  3. Apply online, or call 0300 123 432. You can also apply by post.
  4. Keep your vehicle off the road at all times during the SORN period. Otherwise, you could incur a hefty fine for driving without tax or insurance.
  5. Cancel your car insurance. The DVLA will cancel the direct debit for car tax. 

A SORN can start immediately, or on the first day of the next month, and it can last as long as is convenient for you. If you want to use your car again, you’ll need to tax it when you cancel the SORN. You’ll also need to compare car insurance quotes to get the best deal possible.


The advantages of a SORN during the fuel crisis

Not only will you save money by not driving during the fuel crisis but the environment will also benefit. In addition, people who really need to use their car will find shorter queues at the pump. 

Using cheaper forms of transport during the fuel crisis will allow you to put extra money into a savings account, clear some credit card debt, or pay for a different expense. You could even start saving towards the cost of an electric car. 

If you are experiencing temporary financial difficulties on top of the fuel crisis, a SORN is one way to survive without taking the drastic step of selling your car.

Many people make a SORN for their car because they don’t have the immediate funds for repairs. A few months off the road could pay towards getting your car fixed. 

Learning from the fuel crisis

Taking out a SORN, even for a short while, might help to reduce car use, fuel crisis or not. 

We all know that walking and cycling, for those who are able to, improves health. Getting used to buses and trains is a good way to establish when public transport is a feasible option, and it’s cheaper than using a car and parking.

With a SORN you are more likely to stick to a resolution to manage without a car. If it doesn’t work out, you can tax and insure your car again and cancel the SORN. 

Saving with a SORN

Use a budgeting app, or notebook and pen to add up how much you spend on alternative transport during the SORN. Then compare these costs with all the costs associated with keeping your vehicle. 

You may be surprised at the savings you’ve made during the fuel crisis and give up the car for good. 

The post Ride out the fuel crisis with a SORN! appeared first on The Motley Fool UK.

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