Petrol and diesel prices
Why should I compare fuel prices near me?
Fuel prices are going up and down all the time, but there’s no set rate that every fuel station must adhere to. That means shopping around can save you money at the pumps – if you’ve ever filled up, then passed a petrol station where prices are lower five minutes later, you’ll know how frustrating it can be.
Even small changes in price can add up – saving a couple of pennies per litre will reduce the cost of the typical family car top up by more than £1. If you top up weekly, that’s equivalent to the cost of a full tank saved each year.
Why are fuel prices so high?
Numerous factors affect the price of fuel, with the main one being the cost of crude oil. The inverse is true, so if the cost of oil drops, so should the price of fuel.
Oil prices are largely dictated by supply and demand, as well as the cost of extracting and producing it. Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of oil, and sanctions imposed by the West following its invasion of Ukraine have affected supply.
There’s also the fact that fuel retailers don’t simply price fuel based on how much they bought it for. There’s also fuel duty, which is a form of tax that is paid to the Government, which is currently set at 52.95p per litre.
There’s also VAT, which is 20% of the final amount, as well as other considerations such as the cost of distribution and the profit margin for the retailer. The exchange rate between the pound and dollar also contributes, as oil is bought in US dollars.
Will fuel prices go down?
Fuel prices will always come down from unnatural peaks, but there’s only so low they can go because of the inherent costs outlined above.
There’s also the concern that fuel stations are much slower to reduce their prices than they are to raise them, often waiting for a rival retailer to reduce their prices. Sometimes there are publicity campaigns from organisations that call on retailers to drop costs if they don’t fairly reflect the cost of crude oil at the time.
There’s also a strong link between petrol prices and inflation. When petrol prices come down, it puts less strain on the average person, helping to curb inflation.
How to save money on fuel
The easiest way to save money on fuel is to compare prices before you head out. Our useful fuel price checker will show you where to find the cheapest fuel in your area. You can also plan ahead on longer trips to see which locations along your route might give you the best savings.
Drive more efficiently
You can also save money by thinking about the way you drive. Generally speaking, the smoother you drive, the more economical you’ll be. Accelerating is what uses the most fuel, so coasting towards a traffic light so it goes green before you have to stop will use less fuel than pulling away from stationary (though, obviously, don’t go too slowly with other cars around you). Reducing your speed also helps, so you could consider driving at 60mph on the motorway instead of 70mph.
Maintain your vehicle
A properly maintained car will be more efficient than one that’s been neglected. You might think you’re saving cash by not getting your car serviced or repaired, but worn and damaged parts require more energy to move than a new, well-oiled piece.
Clear out your car
The heavier something is, the more energy is required to carry it. So if you have a boot full of stuff that you never need on a journey, give it a good clear out. Reducing weight will help you use less fuel and save cash at the pumps.
Similarly, remove any roof racks or roof boxes that you’re not using. These create extra drag, which in turn requires more fuel to maintain a given speed.
Turn off the air conditioning
Anything that uses the engine to run will use fuel, and one of the most common culprits is the air conditioning. In newer cars the difference might be minimal, but in older cars it can make a marked improvement. If it’s not boiling hot outside and you don’t need the extra chill, turn off your air-con and improve your fuel economy.
Petrol and diesel prices FAQs
It’s a different story for performance cars, which would benefit from premium fuel – you might notice better throttle response. Because the engine is working harder, premium fuel should have reliability benefits, too.
If you own a diesel car, premium fuels are typically designed to help clear out any gunk in your system, so it can benefit from putting the occasional tank of premium diesel in from time to time.
Some workplaces have chargers on-site that are free or subsidised, so this is another option, while some councils have installed chargers at the roadside in residential areas – although you will have to pay to use the majority of these.
However, if you’re relying solely on public charging, it’s probably best to stick to petrol or diesel for now. That’s because public EV charging is generally pretty expensive, and unless you can find a charger located in a way that suits your lifestyle, it can be annoying having to spend your free time charging a car away from home.