10 money saving tips to reduce your petrol bill
HARD-hit motorists are pleading with the government to help them cope with ever-increasing motoring costs as fuel prices and car insurance quotes continue to soar.
With the coalition set to increase petrol duty by 3p a litre in the new year, drivers have had enough. Over 115,000 people have signed a petition against the rise. They are also strongly opposed to a 5p rise in the cost of petrol in August in line with inflation.
The Christmas cheer will have quickly dwindled away by the time the duty increase kicks in on January 1, a move which will add around £1.55 to the average cost of filling your tank. It’s no wonder that many motorists are ditching their car altogether with almost 13% revealing in a recent survey that they can’t afford to use their car anymore.
Over 75% of people surveyed agreed that fuel duty should be cut. Two-thirds of that number argued that they paid too much tax already with the other third feeling duty should be cut to give people a little bit of extra cash in their pockets. A measly 3.3% felt that fuel duty should be increased (what are they thinking!?)
You’ve found cheap car insurance, now find cheap petrol
If you haven’t already, you can sign the petition against the New Year Day duty increase. But there are other ways you cut the cost of filling up your motor.
1. Keep your eyes on the price
You don’t have to drive around every petrol station in your area to find out which is the cheapest (it’s hardly a sensible way to save fuel for a start). You can monitor the cost of fuel on PetrolPrices.com. Just type in your post code and they’ll show you which forecourt is the cheapest.
PetrolPrices.com revealed as recently as November 15 that the price of a litre of unleaded petrol in the UK ranged from £128 to £146, so it’s clear there are savings to be made.
2. Look out for supermarket offers
You search Moneysupermarket looking for cheap car insurance so why not search the real supermarkets to find savings on fuel? Supermarkets are pulling out all the stops to bolster trade as Christmas approaches. This week, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons are offering fuel vouchers to customers who spend a certain amount in their stores.
If you spend £60 on groceries in Sainsbury’s, you’ll get a voucher for 10p of each litre of fuel.
As part of Morrisons’ cleverly entitled ‘Fuel Britannia’ campaign, you can 6p off a litre of petrol or diesel when you spend £40 in store before
3. Don’t let credit mount up
If you pay for fuel with a credit card, make sure you pay it off in full at the end of the month. If you don’t, interest and other charges mean you are paying even more for filling up your tank.
According to a recent survey from Equifax, a credit reference agency, over 66 per cent of drivers pay for their petrol with a credit. However, around a third of motorists pay off less than a quarter of their balance at the end of the month.
“It’s not surprising that motorists opt to use their credit card when filling up, as not many people carry around £50 in cash,” said Equifax’s Neil Munroe. “But doing this and then making only the minimum each month – or even anything less than the total balance – means motorists will end up forking out a lot more than the increased price of fuel per litre.”
4. Play you cards right
Forget George Osborne, you’ll be your own worst enemy if you let the cost of your fuel mount up on your credit card. The chancellor’s fuel duty increase will be nothing compared to the interest that can accumulate on your unpaid credit card bills.
But if you use your credit card wisely, you can actually get money back on fuel spending. Some cards have some attractive offers at the minute, so it’s worth shopping around for the best deal.
Santander’s 123 credit card is just new on the market. It will pay you 3% cashback on every fuel purchase, up to the value of £9 a month. The card also offers 1% cashback on supermarket bills and 2% cashback on spending in department stores. The card comes with a £24 annual fee, but it’s estimated that with all the cashback offers added together, a cardholder can bring in around £180 in a year.
5. Check the air in your tyres
If you keep your tyres inflated, you’ll use less fuel. Make sure the tyres are pumped up to the right level. If you don’t know what this is, check the car’s manual. Some vehicles will also have this information on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door.
If you have to get new tyres, you may want to think about ones with low-rolling resistance. These ‘eco’ alternatives will cut down on friction and mean your car uses less fuel in the long run.
6. Drive sensibly
Treat your car nicely and it will go easy on the fuel. For short journeys, brake gradually and try not to accelerate too quickly. Also, make sure your gear changes are nice and smooth.
If your car has cruise control, use it on long journeys to keep fuel consumption low. You should also keep at a sensible speed to conserve your fuel.
7. Turn of your engine
Don’t leave your engine running if you are sitting stationary for more than 3 minutes as you’ll just be wasting fuel.
8. Watch your speed
It can be tempting to floor it when you’re on the motorway, especially when traffic is light. But you could save up to 10% on your fuel bills if your drive at 70 mph instead of 80 mph. There’s also more chance of you getting done for speeding if you are driving at 80 mph, and that will pile a fine and higher car insurance premiums onto your already high fuel costs.
9. Don’t take the road to nowhere
Okay men, we know you never get lost, but it’s always sensible to work out your exact route before setting off. Getting lost and driving the long way around will cost you more fuel. Make sure your sat-nav’s working properly, or there’s always the more old-fashioned custom of reading a map.
10. Lose some weight
No, we’re not suggesting you go for a jog (although, that would save on petrol). Having too much in or on your car means you will use more fuel. Take off the roof rack (let’s face it, you probably only use it for two weeks in the year) and ‘any junk in your trunk’ that you don’t need or want. This could cut you fuel costs by 15-20%