With fuel prices rising at record rates, anything that’ll make a difference is more than welcome.
Drivers are facing eye-watering bills at the pump as the biggest monthly fuel rise in 23 years was recorded in August 2023 data from the RAC Fuel Watch shows.
The price of petrol rose by almost 7p per litre taking the average price of unleaded to 152.25p – up from 145.57p during the month of August. Adding almost £4 to the cost of filling up your tank.
While diesel shot up by 8p per litre, taking the monthly average from 146.26p to 154.27p. Making the cost of filling up almost £4.50 more expensive.
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.
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!
Petrol Map is a free-to-use website that allows you see search for the cheapest petrol stations in your area. And you’ll need to create an account to access the site’s features and get started. You can search by exact location or 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 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.
It’s worth noting that you can only access this feature once you drive 160 km using the app and reach the “Waze Grown-Up” level. Waze is free to download and is available for Apple and Android users.
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.
A completely 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 I 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 difference in price the more likely it was we’d save.
Of course, prices are 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.
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 do pay, use a cashback debit or credit card to earn a little back (at most 1%) on your spending.