With fuel at record prices, anything that’ll make a difference is more than welcome.
It’s pretty shocking just how expensive petrol has got – and it could keep getting higher.
The 5p discount at the pumps promised by the Government hasn’t made any difference (if it’s even been passed on), so you’ll need to take it into your own hands to reduce how much you’re spending.
Hopefully these tips will help you do that.
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. It always amazes me how petrol stations on opposite sides of the same road can sometimes have massive differences in price per litre.
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!
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.
A completely free service which covers 83% of petrol stations. 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.
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 I looked at this last year, it was hardly worthwhile when it came to saving a few pence (assuming a 5-mile round trip), but the bigger the difference in price the more likely it was we’d save.
Of course, prices are even higher now, which means that 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 though 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. I’m no driving expert, so it makes sense for you to read 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.
Obviously the supermarket ones have their own schemes. Esso uses Nectar, while BP has its own BPme (use code 000PEV3B when joining and you might get £2.50 worth of points). Download the apps so you’ve got them on your phone if you happen to visit one of their stations.
When you do pay, use a cashback debit or credit card to earn a little back (at most 1%) on your spending.