Last Updated on February 10, 2023 by Melissa S.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you will know that petrol and diesel prices have soared recently, with recent government data indicating this is the sharpest rise in fuel prices the UK has exprienced for 18 years.
While these tips won’t be able to relieve the financial pressure entirely, here’s the best ways to save money on fuel in the UK.
Don’t Assume The Supermarket is the Cheapest
When updating this post for 2023, I am rewording this paragraph significantly. Because this time last year, supermarkets were usually cheaper than other garages. Thanks to using the PetrolPrices app mentioned below, this is certainly not the case in my area any more.
One of the main reasons for this change is due to Petrol Tycoons Issa Brothers’ purchase of Asda from Walmart. I’m not going to go into the details in this post, but if you are interested you can follow that link.
Of course, if you are using a supermarket loyalty scheme such as Sainsbury’s Nectar Points, Tesco Clubcard or Asda Rewards, you can still rake up rewards on your petrol or diesel purchase. But just be aware that fuel may be cheaper at garages elsewhere.
Shop around to save money on fuel
Even within the same area, there can be big discrepencies in the petrol and diesel prices. Using a price checker website or app such as PetrolPrices.com can give you up to the minute data, and can be especially useful when travelling in an unknown area.
As mentioned above, this app and website has helped me find differences in diesel prices of up to 15p just within a 5 mule radius!
Use a cashback credit card for fuel purchases
Using a cashback credit card for fuel purchases enables you to save money on fuel every time you visit the pumps. However, it is important to still budget for your fuel costs and pay off the balance before interest is incurred – otherwise this will wipe out any savings made from the cashback.
To compare the best offers for cashback credit cards in the UK, check out this comparison chart from Money Supermarket.
Driving more effectively can impact the amount of fuel consumed. Avoiding excessive braking and acellerating, maintaining the speed limit and changing up a gear early can all benefit saving fuel consumption.
Carrying around excess weight in the car impacts fuel consumption, so if your boot is full of junk you don’t need for the journey, empty it out. The same goes for roof racks, roof storage boxes and bike racks.
Use a sat nav, but check the route beforehand
Getting lost undoubtedly wastes fuel, but as someone who travels a lot for work I can state that blindly trusting your sat nav can lead to a longer, or less fuel economic journey.
There have been instances where it has tried to divert me onto a faster route saving 3 minutes, but doubling the mileage from 20 to 40 due to the motorway miles involved. In the current climate I’d rather take the A-roads than do double the distance to save 3 minutes!
Checking the suggested route before you start driving, or switching the sat nav to eco mode if it has one should ensure you get the most efficient journey for your time and money.
Get your car serviced regularly
Ensuring your car gets its annual service can ensure it is working in tip-top condition and any potential issues that could be affecting fuel consumption can be addressed. Aside from fuel issues, servicing the car regularly means other potentially expensive issues can be identified before they end up costing you a small fortune when something breaks.
Check Your Tyre Pressure
If your tyre pressue is too low, it could be costing you a significant amount in fuel consumption. The RAC show how to check your tyre pressure at home or at a petrol station.
Reduce the Air Con and Electrics
According to the AA, using the air conditioning at low speeds increases fuel consumption, although this is less noticable on high speed journeys such as motorways. Additionally, turning off electrics such as the rear window heater and headlights when not in use is recommended to save money on fuel.
Car share, or drive less where possible
Not an option for everyone, but if you can car share with a colleague for a work commute, or take turns with a parent friend ferrying the kids to school, this will halve the fuel consumption of both parties for the respective journeys.
If you’re just popping out locally, can you walk or cycle instead? Not only will this save money on fuel, but you’ll get a nice little workout in too!
Buy a fuel-efficient car
This might not be something that you can change overnight, but when you’re next looking into changing your car, the current fuel crisis will urge many into looking at the most fuel efficient car they can purchase, or consider an electric car to save money on fuel.
Electric cars sound ideal to combat the current situation, however it is worth remembering that currently they remain very expensive and the used car market for electric vehicles is still very much in its infancy.
Additionally, although public charging points are available, consider the cost on your energy bill if charging at home.
If an electric car is currently out of your budget, in this article Cinch list the 10 most fuel efficient cars to buy in 2022.
Ensure you’re on the best insurance deal
Although the cost of your car insurance doesn’t directly affect fuel prices, making savings in this area means you are spending less and can offset some of the rising fuel costs.
The silver lining in this cloud is that car insurance is one of the few household expenses that is currently not rising, with a 6 year low in cost being recorded in 2021.
With this in mind, it is definitely worth shopping around for quotes rather than accepting your auto renewal price. Price comparison sites such as Money Supermarket make this process quick and easy.
About the Author
Melissa is a working parent who left behind a senior management salary for a better work/life balance. Following her own money saving and money making strategies she was able to clear debt and live a life she loves. Blogging, selling digital products on Etsy and selling preloved items on eBay are her favourite side hustles. Read her story here.