Fuel is one of those annoying but necessary costs. The vast majority of us rely on our cars to get to work, take children to school, visit family and friends, do the shopping and much more. Quite simply, they are essential to our modern way of life. And what is also essential, is filling them up with fuel on the regular. With petrol currently costing approximately 25% more than it did just four years ago, filling our tanks can be a significant drain on our finances.
So it makes good sense to do all we can to try and reduce our spending on fuel. In this article, we have suggested several tips and tricks you can use to make more of your money at the pumps.
Find the cheapest pump near you
First things first, it makes sense to search around for the cheapest pump in your area. Some out of town supermarkets have been known to undercut the competition significantly on fuel prices in order to attract customers out to them, assuming that they will do some shopping in-store at the same time.
Luckily, that doesn’t mean driving around to every pump with a pen and paper keeping a meticulous log (although you can do that if you want). A much easier way is to check petrolprices.com and enter your postcode.
Doing this using my home postcode showed a difference in price of 10 pence per litre in my local area. That is a saving of £6.00 on filling up a 60-litre tank – so a fairly significant saving and worth going a little bit out of my way to take advantage of the cheaper fuel cost.
Sign up for a loyalty card
Most of the big petrol stations offer some sort of loyalty reward scheme, and supermarkets generally have their own loyalty cards that can be used at the pumps.
As an example, BP has the BPme scheme. With this, you earn 1 point per litre of fuel you buy. You can also earn points through shop purchases and using the car wash. When you get to 200 points you can take £1 off your fuel bill. Alternatively, you can use your points to buy gift vouchers from Amazon, M&S and more.
These savings are not huge, but they are still free money effectively, so worth taking advantage of.
Keep an eye out for supermarket offers
From time to time, supermarkets offer fuel promotions. These almost always involve a minimum spend in store for which you will earn a voucher entitling you to money off next time you fill-up. The discount offered through these vouchers varies but invariably gives you around 5 pence off per litre.
If you sign up to Martin Lewis’ from Money Saving Expert email, chances are they will notify you of any new fuel offers as and when they arise. Otherwise, just keep your eyes and ears peeled…
Make your car more fuel-efficient
Of course, it doesn’t matter how much you save on the fuel
if your car is then so horribly inefficient that it burns it all up twice as
fast as it should!
There are plenty of really simple ways to improve the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. These include:
- Keep the tyres inflated to the correct pressure.
- Minimise the amount of excess weight in the car. Empty your boot and don’t use it as an extension of your garage or attic.
- Don’t fill the tank. A full fuel tank is heavy and the added weight is less fuel-efficient. Instead, opt for more frequent fills and only fill up to 2/3’s of the tank. The only exception to this is if you have a one-time use discount voucher.
- Avoid using the air-con. Not everyone realises that air conditioning actually uses fuel, so you should avoid using where possible and open the windows instead. Although this is only true at lower speeds because at higher speeds having the windows open increases the drag on the car.
- Keep the roof rack off when not in use. Having a roof rank on top reduced the aerodynamics of the car and increase drag, consuming more fuel. Keep it in your garage unless you need it.
- Consider driving more efficiently. Conscientious driving such as accelerating gradually, driving in the highest gear possible and avoiding braking unless necessary can all increase your overall fuel efficiency, giving you a couple more miles out of each litre of fuel.