How to save money on petrol: 6 ‘efficient’ ways to cut costs

Just Stop Oil protesters block petrol pumps at Clacket Lane

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According to RAC Fuel Watch, petrol prices are currently sitting at a hefty average of 163.7p per litre, while diesel prices are seeing a larger jump to 175.64p per litre. These stark and near-record high rates for fuel are largely driven by the Russia-Ukraine war pushing up the price of crude oil, but with no end to this conflict in sight, motorists will need to look closer to home to save the pennies.

Prices have been fluctuating over the past three months, and where it seemed rates dropped around the end of April, the average has seen yet another marginal increase.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Although the price of oil has cooled considerably, there’s still plenty of uncertainty in the market which is leading to prices jumping around a lot.

“This coupled with the exchange rate worsening isn’t good for drivers and news that the EU is planning to phase out Russian oil is likely to cause the barrel price to rise.

“However, retailers really should have passed on the savings they were benefitting from when wholesale prices were lower earlier in April; sadly for drivers, this didn’t happen.

“Instead, the biggest retailers, which buy most frequently held out, protecting themselves from future rises.”

While drivers continue to receive minimal help to afford the costs of these fluctuating prices, fortunately, there are a few efficient methods to cut some costs yourself.

Use cashback schemes and loyalty cards

Get more back from what you put in through the good use of cashback schemes and loyalty cards.

Nick Drewe, money saving expert at WeThrift told Express.co.uk: “From Texaco to Sainsburys, various petrol stations and supermarkets offer cashback schemes and loyalty cards to encourage customers to use their services.

“Every time you buy fuel at a particular station, you simply have to swipe your loyalty card and points are then awarded.

For example, BP offers a loyalty scheme where if you earn 200 points, you’ll be able to claim £1 off your fuel or shop purchases.

With Tesco Clubcard, you can earn one point for every £2 spent every time you fill up at the supermarket’s petrol station.

Keep a steady speed and drive smoothly

Cranking up the accelerator can burn through more fuel than maintaining a steady speed.

Make sure to accelerate gently and try to drive in the highest possible gear for your vehicle while remaining within the speed limit.

Mr Drewe said: “Avoid hard breaks to limit your fuel consumption. If you’re driving a new model, check if your vehicle has a gear-shift indicator, as this will inform you of the most economical and efficient point to change your gear.

Mr Drewe added: “As well as this, there are apps such as Aviva Drive that lets you record your driving style and give you indications on how to improve it.”

Lighten the load

The heavier the vehicle, the most fuel it’s going to need to carry it. It’s important to keep your car as light as possible to cut down on costs.

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Remove the roof box if unused, take out any unnecessary items in the boot, or try to keep luggage light on road trips to make your fuel tank stretch further.

Fill up your tank at a supermarket

Supermarket fuel is often cheaper than branded fuel, and a quick scan on Petrolprices.com bears testament to this, with Costco currently offering the lowest prices up and down the country.

Mr Drewe said: “While supermarket fuel usually comes from the same refineries as the big brands like Shell or Esso, these brands will usually add a range of special additives to their own fuels in order to improve efficiency and performance – which is why they tend to cost more.”

Maintain your car well – change dirty air filters

One of the best ways to save fuel is to keep your car well maintained. Try to fix minor faults as soon as they emerge and have the car serviced regularly to help it drive as efficiently as possible.

Make sure your tyres are properly inflated and make checking their pressure levels a habit.

Mr Drewe explained: “If you have the incorrect tyre pressure, you’ll be using more fuel to keep your car running smoothly. This is because of the added friction while driving that comes from a misshapen tyre.

You can find out the recommended tyre pressure for your vehicle in the vehicle handbook.

Mr Drewe tipped: “Your vehicle manufacturer may also suggest different tyre pressures for your front and rear tyres so it is always worth doing your research.”

As well as this, it’s advised to pay special attention to your air filters.

CarFinance 247 said: “Dirty air filters can cause the car’s engine to work harder than it needs to, so changing them out regularly can help you save fuel over time.

Cut down on air conditioning

If you’re keeping your windows closed on a warm day to avoid drag, you might also be tempted to blast the air conditioning to stay cool.

Unfortunately, both AC and the heater use unnecessary fuel so it’s best to avoid them whenever possible.

If a hotter car really isn’t an option for you, open the windows for a few minutes when you first set off.

This will let a majority of the hot air escape and – if you’re choosing to use it – the AC won’t have to work as hard.

If you’re driving at slow speeds through towns and cities, opening your windows won’t cause drag and you’ll save more fuel than using the AC.

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