With fuel prices at a record high, following the largest annual increase since 2010, motorists are increasingly being forced to shell out to fill up their tanks.
The higher prices come partly as the result of an increase in the cost of crude oil and as a result, it now costs an average of £100.27 to fill up the average 55-litre family car.
As of 8th June 2022, unleaded petrol is averaging 182p per lite, up 53p per litre compared to this time last year. Diesel is now averaging 193p per litre, a rise of 56p since June 2021.
Looking for ways to cut your petrol costs? Here are our top 5-tips to save you some cash on your commute:
1. Make your car more fuel-efficient
There are a number of ways in which you can optimise your vehicle's fuel efficiency.
- Check tyre pressure - Breakdown provider RAC claims that correctly inflated tyres can improve fuel consumption by up to 2%.
- Reduce the drag - Wind resistance can hike up fuel consumption, so removing roof racks and cargo boxes will make your car more aerodynamic and could save you up to 20% on fuel over the course of a year. Keeping your windows shut while travelling at high speeds will also make your vehicle as streamlined as possible.
- Only use air-con when you need to - using air conditioning can increase fuel consumption as it uses more engine power.
2. Use a credit card which gives you cashback or rewards on petrol
A credit card which offers cashback or rewards, particularly at petrol stations, can be useful for those making regular commutes. There are plenty of credit cards that offer competitive cashback rates, so it's worth having a look around to find the right one for you. There are also some with specific rewards linked to fuel purchases.
Here are some of the most competitive offers on the market for cashback or points on fuel:
Representative APR: 20.9% variable
Introductory offer: 15 months interest-free on balance transfers
Cashback/rewards offer: For every £4 you spend on Tesco fuel (excluding Esso) and other Tesco shopping you get 5 Tesco Clubcard points. You also get 1 Clubcard point for every £8 spent outside Tesco
Annual fee: No annual fee
For a more in-depth review, read our 'Tesco All Round credit card review'.
Representative APR: 30.7% variable
Introductory offer: Earn 20,000 bonus Nectar points when you spend more than £2,000 in the first three months of card membership
Cashback/rewards offer: Collect 2 Nectar points for every full £1 spent on the card. Collect a minimum of 3 points per £1 spent with participating Nectar partners, including Esso.
Annual fee: £25 (£0 in the first year)
You can check out our guide to the best cashback and reward credit cards to look at the other options that are out there too.
3. Drive slowly and more efficiently
Adjusting the way you drive could help you spread your fuel across more journeys.
For example, try accelerating and braking more gradually so that your vehicle is not forced to gulp down gallons of petrol on each turn. The less braking and accelerating, the less fuel you will use. Some motorists let the revs (revolutions per minute or RPM) run to 3,000 per minute (in a petrol car) and 2,500 (in a diesel car) before changing up a gear, but it is more fuel efficient to move up a gear at 2,500 and 2,000 respectively. Use higher gears - such as fifth and sixth - as much as possible.
Or, consider driving more slowly, as dropping from 80mph to 70mph could save you up to 25% on your fuel. Slowing down from 70mph to 60mph on smaller suburban roads could save you another 10% on top. Beware of speed bumps too, as having to repeatedly brake hard and accelerate will cost you extra fuel, so drive along at a steady pace and approach them at a gentle roll to give your car and your wallet some respite.
4. Make fewer journeys
Making fewer journeys - or none altogether - is unsurprisingly the most straightforward and cost-effective way to save money on fuel.
If you're in a generous mood, sharing your vehicle with other people heading in the same direction could save on your fuel consumption, with apps such as Liftshare offering a cash-efficient way to split the same journey for multiple people - and it has the added bonus of being better for the environment, by cutting down on the excess pollution that multiple cars would have produced across the same route.
Or, the obvious solution, simply use your vehicle less. Consider walking to work if the journey is manageable, or make use of the various cycle hire schemes available in the UK's major cities, such as Santander Cycles, Lime or Uber's electric bike scheme. Not only will opting to cycle your journeys help keep you active, but as fuel prices continue to climb and the climate crisis looms ever more ominously over us, you would be saving money and doing your bit for the environment at the same time.
5. Check local petrol prices
As the cost of petrol continues to rise you may wish to search for the best place to buy petrol in your area. An easy way you can do this is with the app - https://www.petrolprices.com. This app provides comprehensive information on the cost of both petrol and diesel at a range of filling stations in any location. When we checked the local area the prices varied as much as 5%, so that could mean a £5 saving on a tank of petrol!
We have also put together this handy table that tells you how far it is worth driving to save money on your fuel prices.
(Click to enlarge)
More money-saving tips
Looking for other ways to cut costs? Visit our article 'How to save money on your household bills', '25 money saving tips that could save you thousands', our list of the 'best budgeting apps in the UK', or check out our 'big picture budgeting' guide.