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According to RAC Fuel Watch, petrol prices in the UK have hit a three year high. We’re now paying more to fill up our cars than at any time since 2014, with the cost of unleaded up to £1.21 and the cost of diesel rising to £1.23 a litre. This increase in fuel prices is being driven by a rise in the cost of oil, which has now also peaked at the highest level since May 2015. So, are we stuck paying higher prices for motoring fuel now that the costs are rising – or is there a way to cut the cost?
Where you buy your fuel could actually have a big impact on how much you pay for it, as individual petrol stations have discretion over how much they charge.
You may not be in a position to switch your car for an electric or hybrid model but there is still a lot you can do to ensure that it consumes less fuel including:
And if your monthly budget will allow investigate whether changing your car to help you save fuel costs in the long run makes overall financial sense.
According to PetrolPrices.com you could save more than £220 a year by using its petrol price comparison website. It’s free to sign up and provides a breakdown of average fuel prices by location and by brand. You can sign up for price alert emails, use the website or download the app to find the cheapest petrol station along your route. The app is a particularly useful tool, as it means that you can avoid buying petrol at motorway fill up stations when on the road, which are often some of the most expensive.
Supermarkets can be a great place to fill up, as their prices are often some of the most competitive. This is especially so as you’ll often find a supermarket petrol station in an area where there are lots of other petrol stations – so there are some great discounts available if you buy fuel where you shop. It’s also worth looking into whether your regular supermarket loyalty scheme offers you any discounts on fuel. For example, some provide discount vouchers for petrol – the best way to use these is to pick them up when you’re buying what you’d normally purchase from the supermarket. Avoid a situation where you’re buying more just to get the fuel vouchers, as it could end up being cheaper just to buy the full price fuel.
With the cashback that you earn you can reduce what you pay for the fuel that you buy. However, to ensure you get the gain from this you’ll need to clear the balance on the card every month to avoid paying any interest on the balance (as this would most likely outstrip the cashback saving).
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read about Alex Hartley
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