The price of filling up the car with petrol soared by more than £3 last month – meaning motorists must be more vigilant than ever about fuel consumption.
The cost of both petrol and diesel rose by an average of 6p a litre in May, according to the RAC. This has been blamed on US sanctions against the major oil producer Iran as well as the pound being weaker against the dollar, which is the currency used for trading in oil.
The average cost of filling a family car up with petrol is now £71 while for diesel it has risen to £73 – costing £1.29 a litre for petrol and £1.32 for diesel. Here, we show how you can save at least £6 every time you fill up – or even pay just £1 for your fuel by investing in a new vehicle.
The average cost of filling a family car up with petrol is now £71 while for diesel it has risen to £73 – costing £1.29 a litre for petrol and £1.32 for diesel
COMPARE PUMP PRICES
The recent price hike is painful but by visiting a different petrol pump you can end up paying less money than you were before.
Websites and phone apps can provide comparison services to find the best fuel prices in your area – with costs often varying by 10p a litre or more. Those worth considering include PetrolPrices, SimpleMotoring and Confused.
Supermarkets tend to offer among the best rates as they hope that by coming to pay for cheaper petrol, as low as £1.14 a litre, you may be lured into the store. Motorway service stations are among the most expensive, as high as £1.45 a litre, as they have a captive audience.
Josh Elliott, of PetrolPrices, says: ‘The trick is to prepare before embarking on a long journey – so you need not stop at an expensive service station when low on petrol.’
I’m £4,000 a year better off thanks to a Tesla (but it did cost £65,000)
Thom Monk says he saves £4,000 a year on fuel bills thanks to his electric vehicle
Thom Monk believes he now saves £4,000 a year on fuel bills thanks to trading in his old gas-guzzler for an electric vehicle three years ago.
The 40-year-old paid £65,000 for an electric Tesla Model S car after getting tired of filling up an ageing Volkswagen Touran with £80 of diesel at least twice a week. The commercial manager from Bristol uses the car for a 200-mile round trip commute to Slough in Berkshire two or three times a week.
Thom says: ‘When you are buying a new car, spending an extra £10,000 or so on an electric vehicle seems to me like a no-brainer – you can recoup the extra cost in just over a couple of years. Being able to avoid the headache of always having to fill up at petrol stations is also a godsend.’
He adds: ‘Forget those tired old jokes about electric cars being a bit like milk floats. My Tesla can do nought to 60 miles per hour in just over four seconds – faster than most traditional sports cars.’
Thom plugs the vehicle into his home electricity supply every night to repower it. The father of two has a couple of solar panels at home that help recharge the battery. He uses renewable energy provider Pure Planet to save money on energy bills – paying £1,000 a year on electricity for his three-bedroom home. This is £400 less than he paid after switching provider last year. The bill includes the few pounds a week for recharging.
Slow down: Driving at 80mph uses up to 25 per cent more fuel than motoring at 70mph
DRIVE WITH CAUTION
Motorists who enjoy the thrill of putting their foot down on the accelerator may feel less excited about the experience when they next visit the petrol pump.
Research by reviewer WhatCar? has found driving at 80mph uses up to 25 per cent more fuel than motoring at 70mph. Dramatic acceleration and sudden braking will make the car even thirstier as will not changing gear until the motor is revved up.
Josh Elliott says: ‘You would be amazed how much money you can save by being a better driver. If your car has a cruise control option it is a good idea to use this as it will save you a fortune in fuel.’
Having calmed your inner Stirling Moss or Lewis Hamilton, there are other measures you should consider taking to be less of a gas-guzzler.
Using the air conditioning can add 10 per cent on to your fuel bill and is especially draining on the engine when you are stuck in a traffic jam. You should also check your tyres are fully inflated – to make for safer as well as more economic driving.
If you have a roof rack on the car this adds wind resistance that can also affect fuel efficiency by as much as 10 per cent. Even cleaning out the car and not filling up the tank completely with petrol can have an impact as the extra weight burns more fuel.
PICK A LESS THIRSTY CAR
If you are in the market for a new car then diesel is no longer the obvious choice for better fuel efficiency – with new taxes meaning you can pay about £500 a year in car tax compared to perhaps £200 for petrol.
The ‘official’ fuel economy car manufacturers boast of is often unrealistic but websites such as Buyacar test drive for ‘real-world’ fuel consumption that can provide motorists with a better idea.
For the most economical modern cars you will have to squeeze yourself into a small vehicle. These include the £8,750 Suzuki Celerio, which can offer you as much as 78 miles per gallon. But if you plan on taking the entire family on a long trip you might need to drive a bigger vehicle.
For the family a £15,000 Peugeot 308 can manage 47 miles per gallon while if you want lots of space in the boot an estate such as the £15,750 Skoda Octavia might manage 42 miles per gallon.
Those who have their heart set on something that sits high on the road might opt for a sports utility vehicle such as the £19,000 Peugeot 3008, which should provide you with 40 miles per gallon.
Supermarkets tend to offer the best rates for petrol as they hope to lure you into the shop
PLUG INTO AN ELECTRIC CAR
‘Welcome to the future’ was a term coined when the one-seater electric ‘velomobile’ Sinclair C5 was launched with a fanfare in 1985 – and bombed.
Yet more than three decades later, it really could finally be happening thanks to technology and the rising cost of driving a traditional car. The Government has also said it is banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in Britain from 2040.
The downside is that electric vehicles are still more expensive than a petrol-driven car and need recharging every 100 miles or so – using an electric point that is rarely found in a public car park – and need an adapted power point at your home. An eight-hour overnight charge can cost £10.
Among the best value electric cars is the £25,000 Nissan Leaf, the £32,000 Volkswagen e-Golf and the £33,000 BMW i3. There is also a Government ‘plug-in car grant’ that allows you to get £4,500 off the list price.
An electric car escapes road tax – unless it is a ‘luxury’ model, such as a Tesla, costing more than £40,000. For these vehicles you pay £310 a year for five years.
A compromise is the hybrid that allows you to put your foot down with traditional fuel when on a motorway but switch to electric when stuck in town. According to car reviewer Auto Express, the £23,000 Toyota Prius, the £20,500 Hyundai Ioniq and the £36,000 Volvo XC60 are among the best. These hybrid vehicles qualify for a less generous ‘plug-in’ grant of up to £2,500. From the second year the hybrid road tax is £130 a year.
Figures based on a fill-up at the pump or seven overnight charges