Cheapest fuel – how and where to find cheaper gasoline and diseases
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Find the cheapest fuel as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.
UK households spent 66% or £226 more on petrol in 2021 than in 2020, according to the latest figure from insurer LifeSearch – and prices have risen further this year. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a one-year fuel tax cut of 5p to help drivers save money on fuel. Yet the average price of a liter of petrol has risen by more than 40p since March 2021.
Even if the cut affects the pump, motorists may not feel the benefits. A recent RAC report found that someone with a typical 55 liter car will save just £3.30 when driving to the service station. Using fuel loyalty cards (or even supermarket loyalty cards) can help control costs. Practicing all the ways you can make your gas or diesel last longer is also essential. But knowing savvy ways to find the cheapest fuel is key to keeping fuel costs as low as possible.
How to find the cheapest fuel
There are several websites and apps that can help you find the cheapest fuel, including PetrolPrices.com, Waze and Petrolmap.co.uk. Although you may need to register, these tools are free. You could save hundreds of pounds each year. Here’s how they work:
This site claims it can save over £220 a year for each of its two million users. It does this by comparing gasoline and diesel prices at the cheapest or nearest gas station. If, for example, you buy premium unleaded petrol for your car, it claims you could save £495 a year; diesel motorists could save £289 a year.
Visit the site
This traffic app crowdsources fuel prices for its live map. To find the best gas prices, tap “Where to?” ” box. You’ll see your location history and, among other points of interest, gas stations. Select the gas station icon to view a list of them in your area. You’ll also see the price of gas, the distance to each gas station, and their addresses. The prices are helpfully color coded from green to red in order of cheapest to most expensive.
Visit the site
You can join the Petrolmap gasoline comparison website for free. It claims it saves its users an average of £200 a year. Prices are updated daily. You can also create price alerts to make sure you never miss the best prices near you. You can filter by fuel type, distance and fuel brand, and there is also a useful route planner.
Visit the site
This well-known website has a new tool that reveals the five cheapest gas stations in your area. After creating a free account, you indicate the fuel you want and your postal code. You can use the tool without creating an account, but it will only allow you to look up gas prices once a day and will only show you the cheapest gas station in your area, not other options near you.
Visit the site
Local news sites
Plus, all of the regional news sites provide updates, sometimes daily, on the cheapest places to refuel. For example, Birmingham Mail shows which petrol stations are the cheapest in the West Midlands while Devon Live reveals the cheapest petrol and diesel prices in its county.
Do supermarkets always have the cheapest fuel?
No, but research suggests that supermarkets very often have the cheapest fuel. Supermarkets are generally around 3p per liter cheaper than the average price in the UK, according to Carwow, an online new and used car shopping platform. Gasoline is also generally cheaper in cities than in rural areas. But supermarkets – even those in the countryside – are often even cheaper than oil company-owned gas stations in cities.
John Wilkins of Tradesure Insurance told us: “The AA data also suggests that supermarkets tend to have cheaper than average prices, but that may not always be the case, so drivers can still need to look around before deciding where to buy.
Is it worth driving further for cheaper fuel?
It’s only worth driving further for cheaper fuel if the extra mileage isn’t excessive. John Wilkins of Tradesure Insurance says: “If you’re doing a 10 mile round trip for 1 pence a liter it’s probably not a good economic idea. If, however, you take a 2-mile detour on your way home from work to refuel for much less, then by all means drive a little farther to enjoy it.
How to spend less on fuel
- Join a Fuel Chain Loyalty Program where you can collect points to use against future gas purchases. For example, BP’s BPme program gives drivers one point (worth 0.5p) per liter of regular fuel they buy and two points (worth 1p) per liter of Ultimate range. Texaco’s Star Rewards gives drivers one point (worth 1 pence) for every liter of fuel purchased. Shell Go+ by Shell is offering drivers who spend £10 or more on fuel a ‘visit’ which, for up to 10 ‘visits’, will allow them to claim money back on their fuel purchase.
- Subscribe to a supermarket loyalty card to get points that will eventually convert to cash on a tank of fuel. For example, Sainsbury’s customers can collect one Nectar point (worth 0.5 pence) for every liter of fuel they buy. If you have a Tesco Clubcard you will earn 1 point for every £2 spent on petrol.
- Use cashback to obtain a contribution to the fuel costs. For example, as long as you spend at least £3,000 per year, the free Platinum Cashback Everyday card offers 5% cashback for the first three months (maximum £100), then 0.5% cashback up to £10,000 .
- Consider a carpool system. Carpooling with a colleague to work could cut your fuel costs in half. Liftshare, the UK’s largest car-sharing community, is free to join and claims its members save over £1,000 on average each year. ZipCar and Enterprise let you pay a monthly fee to rent a car by the hour or day.
- Keep your car clutter-free at all times – extra weight in the trunk or on the roof contributes to higher fuel consumption
- Stop letting your car engine run unnecessarily while stationary – it costs 3-4p of fuel per minute this way which can be up to £166 a year.
- Avoid premium fuel. There is little benefit to choosing super unleaded over normal unleaded, although the former will cost you a few cents more per litre.
- Check your tire pressure once a month. Under-inflated wheels contribute to higher fuel consumption. Your car manual will detail the recommended levels.
- Be a conscientious driver. Professional racing driver Rebecca Jackson is an expert in economical driving and told the RAC: “Accelerating from a stop is very costly in terms of fuel consumption, as is climbing any steep hill. If you can keep moving slowly rather than stopping in traffic, that’s fine, but you should be aware of not hindering other drivers by leaving too much space behind the car in front of you. You have to listen to the engine to make sure you don’t use excessive revs, but you have to use enough of it, so it’s a good balance because you don’t want the car working too hard either.
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