How to: find the cheapest fuel in your area

Fuel prices are only heading in one direction, and as MPs yesterday voted not to postpone the 3p per litre rise in fuel duty arriving in January next year, we’ve got some top tips on how to find the cheapest fuel in your area and get the most from every last drop of go-go juice.

LOYALTY CARDS

Loyalty cards can be annoying, clogging your purse or wallet, but if they save you a decent amount of dosh they’re certainly useful. As fuel costs rise, they’re becoming more so, too.

Most fuel companies have one whereby you get points for every fill-up, giving you money off the next time you top up your tank. One point per litre is generally the going rate, with 500 points worth anything between £2.50 and £5.00 off your bill.

SUPERMARKET PRICE WAR

Supermarkets are keen to have the lowest headline price for a litre of fuel. As drivers we should make use of this. In conjunction with offers in store on certain products or promotions, you can recoup money at the pumps – as much as a 20p per litre discount in some cases.

Large grocery retailers have started to straight cut the sticker price of their fuel, too – Asda announced a 2p per litre cut last week, with Sainsbury’s and Tesco following suit.

EFFICIENT MOTORING

On their own each little facet of eco-driving doesn’t appear like it would save you all that much cash, but put them together and the effects can be alarming.

Under inflated tyres will increase friction and fuel consumption by as much as 10% as a result. Similarly, a properly maintained car will be more economical.

Couple this to more efficient driving – we’re talking changing up the gears earlier and predicting traffic ahead to avoid heavy braking and acceleration – and you could improve the rate at which your vehicles slurps fuel by up to 20%.

Don’t speed. Above all it’s illegal and unsafe, but it’ll help you save money as well. According to the AA, driving at 80mph rather than 70 can increase consumption by 25% at worst.

Remove excess weight – it’s the enemy of efficiency. Carrying around possessions you have no need for in your car is tantamount to throwing pound notes out the window when it comes to fuel costs.

Fuel duty

PRICE COMPARISON WEBSITES

Yes, there are even price comparison websites for fuel. These sites will give you an idea of the cheapest and most expensive filling stations in your area – even a few pence difference can add up to a noticeable saving over a year’s motoring.

According to PetrolPrices.com, using its postcode search function a driver covering an average 12,000 miles per year in a vehicle averaging 39mpg could save as much as £300 by hunting out the cheapest retailer.

CREDIT CARDS

It was credit that got the nation into debt the first time round, you might be thinking? But using your credit card wisely can help save you money.

Many banks offer cashback when you give your plastic some abuse, but some cards are now giving users beneficial rates on fuel, recognising it’s a serious outgoing for many.

Santander will currently give you 3% back on fuel purchases, compared to only 1% on your supermarket shopping. Just make sure you pay the balance off every month, or your hard work will be wiped out by the interest rates…

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON FUEL

Just as you would when buying a car, it’s important to shop around for your fuel. Once over petrol and diesel were relatively inexpensive – motorists didn’t need to hunt out the bargains.

Now we do. Together with an efficient driving style and a well maintained car it can help keep you further into the black than you might have thought.

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