Motor Update: Biggest fuel rise in 5 years – how to find cheaper fuel and improve fuel efficiency

Biggest fuel rise in 5 years 

The price of fuel has hit its highest point in 5 years and has soared by almost 20% in a year. At an average of £1.30 per litre, it is 22p per litre more expensive than this time last year. This has left motorists paying £8 more for a full tank.

It is claimed fuel retailers could be charging more to make up for lost sales during the pandemic. However, the speed of the price rises at a time when drivers are beginning to travel much longer distances is an unwanted post-lockdown shock for motorists.

How to find cheaper fuel

Following the sharp rise in fuel prices, there are steps you can take to ensure you do not pay over the odds.

Shopping around could save you up to 24p a litre. Your local supermarket should be first on your list because they use cheaper petrol to entice motorists into their shops. Asda is often one of the cheapest, which has recently been charging as little as £1.23 per litre. 

In contrast, it is advisable to stay clear of motorway service stations. They will take advantage of motorists in the knowledge that they have a huge audience with no other option if they are running low. 

If you are still struggling to find cheaper petrol, it might be worth downloading a specialist petrol price app, such as Petrol Prices UK. 

Loyalty schemes can also be worth considering. For example, if you often visit Shell to fill up, it’s worth registering for Shell Go+. You can order a card and key fob online or download the app to access the benefits. You’ll get a fuel reward every tenth visit, which Shell counts as anytime that you spend at least £10 on fuel or £2 in the shop. 

Sainsbury’s Nectar Points scheme is another popular long-running loyalty initiative. It allows customers to collect and spend points with hundreds of different brands. 

Improve fuel efficiency 

There are other steps you can take to ensure you are saving money on your fuel.  

It is important to keep your tyres inflated and to check your tyre pressure regularly. This will not only prolong the tread of your tyres but improve fuel efficiency in the process. This is because if your tyres are even slightly distorted due to incorrect pressure, the added friction will result in more fuel being used.

Declutter your car. Quite simply the heavier your car, the more fuel you will burn off. On average, an extra 50kg of weight in the car will increase fuel consumption by 1-2%. 

Aim to avoid excessive use of your air-con when stuck in traffic. Engines have to work harder in stop-start traffic, so using the air-con will only add to this strain and result in more fuel being used.

Don’t fill up your car to the brim with fuel. Only topping up with what you need and avoiding having a full tank means the fuel you do have goes slightly further. This is because fuel will weigh your car down, using up more fuel as a result. 

Servicing your car regularly can reduce the burden on your engine and also result in a lower MPG (miles per gallon). 

Drive more efficiently

Simply by driving more efficiently you can also keep your costs down. 

If you are looking to save fuel, aim to accelerate gradually and not be too hard on your brakes. It’s the big stop start movements that really drain your fuel and have a negative impact on your MPG. Therefore ensure you leave adequate space between yourself and the vehicle in front so you’re not constantly hitting the brake pedal unnecessarily.

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