UK The ridiculous ‘cheap fuel’ mistake that’s costing you £11 a month Think you’re being a canny bargain hunter by tracking down the cheapest petrol? Prepare for a shock, because a new study has revealed there’s a good chance you’re wasting £11 a month in your pursuit of a bargain.
The study, by Moneysupermarket, discovered that driving out of our way to save money at the pump could be costing us a collective £528 million a month – petrol drivers are wasting £11 each and those driving diesel cars £16 a month.
That’s not to say that it’s not worth hunting out great deals, and it doesn’t mean you should rule out going slightly out of your way for a great bargain. If you were to track down 5p saving that’s a mile out of your way, for example, you could save £2.32 every time you fill a 50 litre tank.
The comparison site highlighted the rough rule of thumb to avoid driving too far for a bargain: the 2-for-1 rule. It means that if you have to drive more than two miles out of your way to save 1p, you’re wasting money. Likewise, you shouldn’t go for more than four miles in order to save 2p per litre.
Saving on petrol
Shopping around for cheaper petrol locally is a great start, and it’s worth checking petrolprices.com for the cheapest petrol in your area. If you’re planning a road trip, it’s also an excellent way to find petrol stations just a fraction off the motorway, which could save you a small fortune.
Generally supermarket petrol stations are among the cheapest, and as a result, if you can choose to top up your car in an area with a supermarket petrol station, you’ll find their competitors have cut costs too.
However, it’s not the only way to save money on petrol. By far the biggest difference you can make is to think very clearly whenever you have to replace your car. It’s worth weighing up the size of the car and the size of the engine very carefully – to decide whether the extra power is really worth the extra cost per mile.
You also need to consider the balance of the age of the car (and therefore usually the efficiency of it) with the purchase price. We can’t all afford to splash out on the latest efficient models, but getting a car a year or two younger could make an enormous difference to the petrol you get through.
Efficient driving techniques are also worth practicing. Dan Plant, consumer expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “Avoiding heavy braking, harsh accelerating or excessive speeding can reduce the amount of fuel you use significantly. Keeping your vehicle road worthy is also important. Check your tyres to make sure they are at the right pressure, and ensure your car is regularly serviced as dirty air filters and oil can all have a negative effect on fuel consumption.”
The study revealed that a number of drivers are already doing this. Some 52% try to avoid harsh braking, 39% try not to accelerate too rapidly, 35% aim not to drive too fast, 60% keep their tyres at the right pressure, and 57% make sure their car is serviced regularly.