As the cost-of-living crisis continues, the last several months have seen average fuel prices rise to record highs. We’ve looked at how you can make your fuel go further in a previous part of this series, but how about saving money at the pump itself?
Well, here are some clever ways to keep the costs down when you’re next heading to the petrol station.
Hunt out cheap fuel
Fuel prices can vary between different suppliers, even those on the same street, with supermarkets often able to pass on cheaper prices to customers as they’re able to offset it against the sheer volume of fuel that they sell.
Get to know the petrol stations in your area and make a mental note of the price per litre the next time you drive pass. You’ll soon start to build up a picture of where you can make the greatest savings and discover if it’s worth driving that little bit further to a forecourt in order to save money.
Look for supermarket fuel vouchers and loyalty card schemes
Speaking of supermarkets, many of the major names offer fuel vouchers in return for shopping in their stores. These can be applied to your next fuel purchase and will usually consist of money off your purchase.
There are also loyalty card schemes available for a range of supermarkets and fuel retailers, where you can collect points along with every transaction. These points can often be exchanged for a variety of vouchers or discounts in the future, so it’s well-worth collecting them.
Avoid premium fuel
Most of us probably pull up to a petrol pump and automatically reach for the same nozzle each time. But as well as the standard petrol and diesel nozzles, you might also see ones for premium or high-octane fuel and wonder whether they could give you more value for money in the long-run, despite the higher upfront cost.
The truth is that unless you’re driving a high-performance car, you probably won’t experience much benefit from using premium fuels. That’s because the vast majority of cars have been designed to operate perfectly well with standard unleaded fuel and so most drivers won’t really see improvements in performance or fuel efficiency when they’re using premium. With premium fuel also being significantly more expensive than standard unleaded, it’s unlikely to be worth the investment.
If you do want to give premium fuel a try, we’d recommend experimenting with a couple of tanks to see if it truly gives you a significant boost in performance before fully committing.
Avoid using motorway service stations to buy fuel
Fuel prices at motorway service stations tend to be significantly higher than anywhere else. While they certainly offer convenience during journeys thanks to their continuous opening hours, additional services and fast access to fuel, a bit of forward planning means you can avoid having to pay those higher prices easily enough.
If you’re heading out on a long journey (or even a shorter one that just happens to include a motorway), take advantage of your local facilities and make sure you’ve got sufficient fuel in your tank before you leave. Not only will this save you money, but it also means you remove the risk of being caught out during your journey.
The same is true on your homeward journey – have a look around the local area and see if you can top up your fuel before you hit the motorway.
Use free electric vehicle charging points (EV)
This last point is a little less about traditional fuel and more about electricity. If you’re driving an electric or hybrid vehicle, then you might be able to save money by making use of free charging points.
There are an estimated 35,000 public charging points in the UK, of which around 15% are free to use. Scotland, the south east of England and Greater London have the biggest share, with other areas like Northern Ireland, Wales and the north east of England offering much fewer options.
You’re likely to be at the mercy of your geographical area and route when it comes to whether you can take advantage of free charging or not – as well as the location of the charging points themselves, with many being linked to attractions, hotels and accommodation. That being said, it’s definitely worth investigating as it could be a great way to save some money. Apps like Zap Map are a good place to start here.
Bear these points in mind the next time you need to re-fuel your car and hopefully you’ll be able to make some savings.
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