How to save money on petrol & diesel

With fuel prices rising at record rates, anything that’ll make a difference is more than welcome.

The cost of filling up your car can be eye-watering — we’ve seen a 19% rise in the cost of unleaded fuel in the last five years according to data from the RAC Fuel Watch.

As with other rises in the cost of living, managing fuel price increases can feel out of your control. But there are ways to help you save at the pump.

Here, we round up some tips and hacks to help cut the cost of your petrol and diesel bills.

save money on petrol

Find the cheapest petrol near you

As a general rule, supermarkets tend to have the lowest prices, though these can vary massively from town to town.

Don’t forget to look at both sides of the road. Petrol stations on opposite sides of the same road can sometimes have massive differences in price per litre — but remember that they’re competing, so the best priced station will switch all the time

There are also a couple of websites which compare the prices of petrol based on whatever postcode you enter. These can be handy if you know in advance you need to fill up but they’re less useful if you’re driving!

Petrol Map

Petrol Map is a free-to-use website that allows you to search for the cheapest petrol stations in your area. You need to create an account to access the site’s features and get started. You can search by exact location by typing in a postcode.

You can also check for the cheapest petrol stations along your route. You’ll just need to enter the beginning and end of your journey into the map planner.

Petrol Map also offers free calculators to help you work out things like how much fuel you’ll need for a journey and how much filling up your car could cost over a year. Petrol Map doesn’t have an app but is accessible via mobile.

Waze

Waze is a navigation app that finds the quickest routes using data from other users. It also has a feature which shows petrol prices in your local petrol stations.

Waze is free to download and is available for Apple and Android users.

PetrolPrices.com

You have to register to use this. By default, you’ll see results within five miles of the postcode you enter, but you can expand this as far as 20 miles. There’s also an app you can download to your phone.

However since this relies on users to share prices it might not always show the current price. You can see the last date each pump price was updated.

Confused.com

This is a free service which covers 83% of petrol stations across the UK. You can expand your search to a 25-mile radius. You get 20 searches per week but have to log-in to Confused.com to see the full results.

As with Petrol Prices it might not be the most up to date information, so check when the prices were last updated.

Work out if it’s worth going out of your way to fill up

The flip side of locating cheaper petrol stations is that they could be some distance away. This means using more petrol to get there and back.

When Editor-in-chief Andy looked at this a few years ago, it was hardly worthwhile when it came to saving a few pence (assuming a 5-mile round trip), but the bigger the price difference the more likely it was you’d save. Of course, prices are higher now, which means that the journey to and from the petrol station will cost more, so you’d need an even bigger difference in price per litre to justify the trip.

Ideally, you’d choose which station you visit as part of a planned journey, using the tools listed above.

Make your car lighter

The heavier your car, the more petrol you’ll use. So get rid of anything in the boot that you don’t need, and take off things like roof racks if you’re not using them.

Don’t always fill up

Also, it can make sense to only half-fill your tank at the petrol station as that extra weight makes a difference too. Or put enough in so you can get to a location where you know pumps will be cheaper.

Though of course, if you’re going on a long motorway journey or going out into the sticks, both places where prices are much higher, it could be worth topping up. It also means you won’t run out if you can’t find a petrol station.

Change how you drive

You might not realise that the way you drive can change your fuel consumption. This includes how you brake and accelerate. If your car shows your fuel consumption as you drive, you can be surprised at the difference this can make. Check out this article from the RAC with some suggestions.

Get points and cashback

There’s little point using a petrol station just because it offers points back, but if you are at a garage offering them then it makes sense to claim them.

The supermarkets have their own schemes. Esso uses Nectar, while BP has its own scheme, BPme.

If you already have a physical BPme card but don’t have a digital version yet, you can register for one online or through the BPme app and receive 500 points (worth £2.50) once you’re successfully signed up.

BPMe also offers reward prices exclusively for members (it works in a similar way to Nectar Prices and Clubcard Prices). So you can also save on selected M&S food, Wild Bean Cafe goods and retail store favourites.

It helps to download the apps so you’ve got them on your phone if you happen to visit one of their stations.

When you pay, use a cashback debit or credit card to earn a little back (at most 1%) on your spending.

Earn cashback on fuel

You can earn money back on Morrisons’ fuel with cashback app JamDoughnut, which can earn you 3% back on your fuel. You need to buy a fuel gift card through the app to get it. Check out our travel deals page, where we share more on how to do this, and when you can stack this with Morrisons’ 5p off per litre deal.

6 thoughts on “How to save money on petrol & diesel

  1. Drive less.
    Accelerate gently, conserve momentum by reading the road ahead and braking only as much as necessary.
    Drive more slowly.
    These will make much more difference than messing about trying to save 2/3 pence a litre.

    1. I get 10% better Mpg than my wife, driving the same car on the same journey.
      As you say, “how you drive” is far more important that saving a penny or 2 at the pump.

  2. The confused.com prices seem hopelessly out of date. It’s better to use Waze, it shows you petrol prices in the area and gets updated more regularly

  3. PetrolPrices.com is brilliant, but it really needs more people to sign up and report prices. In my area it often feels like there are only one or two of us reporting prices, so they’re often 4-5 days out of date, which is no good when prices are changing so rapidly. We all benefit from having this information available, so I’d encourage everyone who reads this to get actively involved.

  4. It’s worth being aware also, that if you are using the self-service pumps at Sainsbury’s, you need to make sure you have at least £100 in your account for pre-authorisation.

    I use Chase as an additional account so only transfer as much as I need each time. Completely forgot about this and couldn’t work out why my card kept getting declined when I knew there were funds in there!

  5. John Harold Lloyd June 8, 2022 at 4:06 pm

    At the end of the day what can the government do they a measly 5p off but from what I did see it went straight in to the garage forecourts till there must be vast profits being made by both oil company’s as well as on the forecourts as you see one garage selling for £1.79 a ltr then look across the road and another selling for £1.89 ltr so is the one selling at a loss or the other just ripping you off?

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